by Giovanna Zoboli
Simona Mulazzani, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Publisher’s Website: With its sharp eyes, the blackbird can see every blade of grass in the meadow. The wings of the wild goose can carry it far away. And the song of the whale fills the wide ocean. Each animal has skills and beauty wholly unique to itself. And in this lyrical book, a child describes the skill and the beauty possessed by various animals.
Giovanna Zoboli’s fluid and lyrical descriptions, complemented by Simona Mulazzani’s bright and charming illustrations, will leave the reader charmed by its sense wonder and awe.
Back Cover: I wish I had the towering neck of a giraffe to reach up into the clouds.
First Sentence: I wish I had the eyes of a blackbird to see every blade of grass growing in the meadow . . .
I wish I had is a celebration of the best features of some animals as seen through the narrator, who is unnamed. Thankfully, each page does not begin with the phrase “I wish” as that would make reading aloud cumbersome and awkward. The author links two animals together in seemingly random fashion, but the two features of the animals make sense together.
“I wish I had the eyes of a blackbird to see every blade of grass growing in the meadow . . . and the feather-light steps of a tiger as it explores in silence.”
Being able to see everything and then silently explore through that area would be a neat trick, unless you are a mom with three kids and they have that skill. The animals include the common mouse and the majestic whale; a sleek panther and a lazy hound; and on the cover, a giant giraffe whose head has pierced the clouds.
The illustrations run from the realistic to the fantastical. In the latter category are the whale and the elephant. What makes them fantastical is the artwork on animal’s skin. Seems the artist could not leave big patches of grey alone, maybe seeing them as a new canvas upon which to draw. Then there is the deer whose antlers are large and magnificent, and so intertwined with the trees that the antlers appear to be the tree limbs. Humor is also evident as in the orange juice-drinking mice—sitting at a small table on a butcher’s block—unaware of an approaching cat, while a third mouse—hiding in a draw of the block—tries to alert his buddies. There are also lemurs swinging from the branches of apartments shaped like trees.
The detail in each spread is wonderful and extends beyond the main animal. Most interesting, to me, is the inside back cover. It is filled with small sketches, some of them the actual art used and others ideas that were abandoned, like the dog sitting in a cozy chair, a pot of steaming tea ready to keep him warm on a snowy day.
I like I Wish I Had . . . for the artwork and for the narrator’s desires to be the best of his/her favorite animals. I love the giraffe on the cover as it reaches towards the heavens, and the elephant with huge ears that can hear those heavens. I think young children will love this picture book. They will think of their favorite animals and what attribute they wish they had. I Wish I Had . . . will arouse the imagination of young children and possibly older as well. Who would not want nimble legs that allow you to run until exhausted, or the ability to take flight with your own wings? I would love to bypass security every time I flew.
I Wish I Had . . . is a whimsical, reflective, celebration children will love. The first person wishes allow a child to be the narrator or the reading parent can take ownership herself. This picture book makes one think of what it would be like to be our favorite animals or what we could be and do if we had one of the amazing animal abilities showcased in the book. I Wish I Had . . . will awaken your child’s imagination and awaken their ability to dream. I Wish I Had . . . is a beautiful book with amazing illustrations stretching from edge to edge. You and your child will enjoy reading and imagining with every flip of the page.
by Giovanna Zoboli website bio tumblr twitter Simona Mulazzani, illustrator website bio artwork twitter Eerdmans Books for Young Readers website blog facebook twitter pinterest Released March 1, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-8028-5415-5 27 Pages Ages 4 to 8 Originally published in Italy by Topipittori , 2010. topipittori.it . Copyright © 2013 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, used with permission Text: Copyright © 2010 by Giovanna Zoboli Illustrations: Copyright © 2010 by Simona Mulazzani
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