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Children’s Book Review: If Kids Ruled the World

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If Kids Ruled the World by Linda Bailey illustrated by David Huyck

If Kids Ruled the World cover

This original, fun picture book delightfully describes, in hilarious detail, a small child’s idea of utopia. Every two-page spread offers something new about this fantasy life, including, “If kids ruled the world, every day would be your birthday! Birthday cake would be good for you. Your doctor would say, ?Don’t forget to eat your birthday cake so you’ll grow up strong and healthy!'” And, “You could go to any kind of school you like ? Circus School. Fairy School. Inventing School. Lots of kids would go to Recess School.” The topics that bestselling, award-winning author Linda Bailey has chosen are pitch-perfect for young children, from bedtime and baths (none!) to pets and tree houses (lots!). And illustrator David Huyck‘s detailed, brightly hued artwork is full of energy, joy and humor that gets right to the heart of a child’s view of the world. While this is a book that would happily be enjoyed from cover to cover, it’s not hard to envision an enthralled child spending long stretches of time daydreaming about one particular scenario. In the classroom, this book would make an excellent springboard for art projects or creative writing assignments that explore children’s own unique image of the perfect world. Particularly gratifying is the emphasis throughout on sharing all the good things brought to life in a world of a child’s own making. This book is a truly exuberant celebration of childhood, play and imagination. It’s sure to become a classic.

We recently brought the whole family to a conference. Sort of. Our preschooler got to go to museums with Grandma. In the exhibition hall, a number of publishers sponsored author signings and book giveaways. There’s a chance that wearing an infant increased their tendency toward giving rather than selling. I’m unrepentant.

I don’t know if I’ve stated explicitly that I’m not a fan of paper books. I was; when they were the only game in town. These days they’re heavy and they kind of smell funny. Sometimes you can’t even fit them in your pocket. And you can’t read them in the dark.

However, One must make exceptions for kids’ books. Don’t get me wrong, I have lot of those on my Kindle, too. But there’s a strong case to be made for obsolescing forms engaging the young visually, tactilely, and viscerally. Plus, if you wanna limit screen time, you gotta go all in.

Once I cottoned to the fact that were children’s books on hand I sought them out. We make good use of our local library, of course. But tis was a great way to inject some novelty into our little readers’ lives.

One of my favorites is If Kids Ruled the World. The cover alone does way more for my preschooler than most entire books. Scroll back and take another look. I’ll wait. All of those kids are distinct, active, and different. Our child did not that there were tow backpacks with jets, but neither one was Boba Fett. I will treasure the memory.

A friend of ours stated unilaterally that a children’s book was not a children’s book unless it was in anapestic tetrameter. For the most part, we agree. It always helps.

Here the art and the conceit carried. If Kids Ruled the World is a book for all tastes. Scary, silly, kind, exciting. And it manages something of a narrative and a message.

If Kids Ruled the World tub

There are pirates and dinosaurs and monsters and dragons in addition to cake and costumes and princes and princesses. If your child doesn’t like particular pictures, you might consider steering clear. It’s rarely worth risking nightmares when you don’t have to. On the other hand, we did have a productive discussion about what our preschooler would have do differently. Dinosaurs, for example, will not be allowed in the park.

What I’m saying is that it’s all to the good. The illustration is top tier. Simple. Bright. Exact. The words are familiar and well placed. And it engages beyond its covers.

Highly recommended for fans of “Handlebars,” Jake and the Never Land Pirates, and unbridled leisure.

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