I Want to Be a Vase by Julio Torres, illustrated by Julian Glander

Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Summary:  A cityscape of skyscrapers is shown, each with many square windows.  The illustrations zoom in on the one round window, eventually entering the apartment where “I have something to say.”  It’s the toilet plunger.  “I want to be a vase.”  The bathtub, toilet, and sink argue back that it’s impossible, but the plunger is determined.  It heads down the hall to the kitchen, where it rubber bands a bunch of flowers around its handle, and voila, it’s a vase!  The vacuum is horrified, but the pot is inspired to become a trash can.  The trash can, it turns out, wants to be a couch cushion.  Before long, everyone’s switching up identities.  When the hair dryer announces it wants to be a vacuum, the vacuum is horrified but comes around when it sees how much faster it can get its work done.  Even the book itself gets in on the act, asking readers on the last page if it can be a hat.  48 pages; ages 4-10.

Pros: This book is definitely original, both in the story and the art, created by a former Saturday Night Live writer and a Disney/Nickelodeon/Cartoon Network animator.  Kids will love the humor and the illustrations, and it’s impossible to miss the “be who you are” message.

Cons:  I have enough trouble with kids balancing library books on their heads without the books themselves inviting readers to wear them like hats.

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