Select one of the keywords
Ambition's Not An Awful Word    by Zack Zage & Adam Watkins order for
Ambition's Not An Awful Word
by Zack Zage
Order:  USA  Can
Ivy, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book
*   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Children, when they are young, often have big plans for the future. Ask a little boy or girl what he or she wants to be and you'll get a full range of answers. Usually adults smile and refrain from answering in a negative manner but they might be thinking, 'Yeah, right! I don't think you are going to be an astronaut.'

The little boy in this picture book shares a number of his dreams when his fourth grade teacher asks the class what they want to be some day. As you'll see, the precocious youngster's plans are not met with encouragement or great enthusiasm. In fact, just the opposite happens.

The boy's classmates respond with, 'You exaggerate. You're nothing but a boast. It's always you who have to be the brightest and the most. So, until the things you do, can back up things you say, the rest of us won't stick around and listen to what you bray.'

Rather downcast, the fourth grader goes home, but his mother encourages him and assures him that it is OK to dream.

A five page glossary accompanies this rhymed narrative which suggests that the author wasn't sure young readers would fathom the text. That potential vocabulary concern is well founded. I found the rhyme forced at times and this may cause problems with younger readers in the seven to ten year old range. Also, it was never clear who was responsible for shooting down each of the boy's dreams. Was it his teacher, his classmates or some mysterious off stage voice?

The book's illustrations are quite good and they will probably save what is otherwise a somewhat flawed text. Although the basic idea here is fine, there's a problem with its execution.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Kids books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews