Later, When I’m Big – Bette Westera and Mattias De Leeuw

Later, When I’m Big by Bette Westera, Laura Watkinson
Also by this author: 189 Canaries, The Box
Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers Genres: Children's
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A playful, humorous look at being small but dreaming big.

As a child and her mother walk up to the swimming pool, she dreams about everything she’ll do when she’s older. Maybe she’ll dance with jellyfish. Maybe she’ll fly to Saturn in a space rocket. She could even play with the monster under her bed! But for now, she’ll have to face that terrifyingly tall diving board…

With alliterative language and explosively colorful illustrations, When I’m Big is an amusing journey through all sorts of fantastical futures. As readers travel to tropical rainforests, the North Pole, and beyond, they will start to dream about what their tomorrows could bring.

My five-year-old is currently at a place where he is interested in age. He loves to pretend to be a baby—never mind that’s he’s already over four feet tall! He’s also curious about how old one has to be to do certain things like drive a car or have a job or drink soda or Be On The Computer Without An Adult Present. Later, When I’m Big follows that theme by having a child imagine all sorts of things they will do when they’re big.

The first panel of the book reads “Later, when I’m big, I’ll dare to do lots and lots of things.” The illustrations are of a mom and child walking in a giant and imaginative water park. Every panel that follows has some sort of outlandish and impressive thing that the child will do Later, When I’m Big. Kissing an elephant, sleeping in a haunted castle, biking around the world…you get the idea. This continues until the final panels, which shows the mom and child leaving the water park with the words “But not just yet.”

The book is fine, but it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. There’s basically an introduction, a series of outlandish things, and an ending. None of the things the child will do are remotely based in reality—real things that kids might want to do when they’re older—except for drinking soda. The result is that there’s no real depth to the book. It’s just a series of odd things (well-illustrated, I might add) but that’s it. While this book might be good for a single read through and a chuckle, that’s about it.