This is a book that shows us a world of possibilities that children today have access to. If you have observed little children, they are often fascinated by what they can be when they grow up. Their dream professions change of course, one interest giving way to another. This observation assumes a beautiful expression in Niyatee Parikh Sharma’s “What can I be”? (Tota Books).
A little girl goes for a walk with her mother. But, this is no ordinary walk. Each thing they see sets off an element of wonder and possibility. Building something from small sticks, makes the child think she can be an architect. When she climbs trees, her mother suggests she could be a mountaineer. The drift goes on and a simple walk turns into a fascinating exploration.
There are many things to watch out for in this apparently simple story. First, the relationship between the mother and her daughter, where the mother opens up a world of possibilities in the mind of the child, and yet, never imposes any thought on her. Second, the mindfulness with which a child and adult can engage with nature is so clear in the book. Of course, with all the varied professions mentioned in the book, it could rev up your little reader’s vocab quite a bit as well!
The illustrations by Vibha Suryanarayanan add on the fascinating tempo of the book. Each page is different and unique to the content! Apt for the 3-6 year age group. What Can I Be is a heart-warming picture book that opens up a whole new world of potential for children.