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Children's Summer Reading: Monkeying with who you are
Date of Review: 
Published Work: 
Susan Faust
San Francisco Chronicle

Kids love to pretend. But maybe they're not as good at being animals as they could be, so San Francisco author and illustrator Lisa Brown ("Baby Mix Me a Drink") offers some tips in How to Be (HarperCollins; 32 pages; $15.99; ages 2-5). For a bear: "Catch a fish with your hands. Hibernate. Growl. Be brave." And so on for monkey, turtle, snake, spider and dog. Brown did research on her own 2-year old son before settling on what to show. Her lively ink drawings have two kids, presumably a brother and sister, doing funny demos right through to the small surprise ending set on how to be a person. The animals lay the groundwork and make it look so easy. This seemingly simple but thoughtfully presented concept book is full of robust playfulness but also makes a gentle point about just being yourself.