Review of When I grow up by Jon Hales


It’s the question which has stumped little kids and big kids for years, but, when her class is asked to come up with an answer, Annie has some unique ideas of her own.

How about Alien Hunter? Or Master Ice Cream Taster?

When she struggles to choose just one job, her teacher has some surprising advice for her.

Beautifully illustrated, expertly rhymed, with a poignant message about the importance of imagination, following our dreams and not being afraid to change our minds, this captivating picture book will delight again and again.


When I grow up is a lovely book that brings out a little girl’s numerous choices of what she wants to become. The books starts with little Annie describing her Teacher Mr.Dove. She says he would say “Lazies and Jellymen’. He gives the class an assignment to write on what they want to become. They all start thinking and writing them.

Annie looks around to see what her friends come up with. One wants to be a fire fighter, one wants to be a baker and one an entrepreneur.

So when she thinks of her choices, she comes up with many. Say a master ice-cream taster, president of universe, alien hunter and a deep sea explorer. She explains what she would be doing becoming them.

Thinking of all this she missed writing it on paper. So when Mr.Dove is right in front of her staring at a blank paper, he tells her that it’s alright that she couldn’t settle on one choice. He comforts her by saying that he is also in the same state. He is a teacher but could become a painter or an actor after retiring.

So he asks her to write it down in a rhyme and submit it tomorrow. Annie settles in her room and starts writing as ‘When I grow up’. When she gets her paper back after submission she notices that Mr. Dove had indeed appreciated her rhyme and would want her to become an alien Hunter.

The book ends on a lovely note where she asks the reader what they want to become when they grow up. Yes, in Mr. Dove’s tone ‘Lazies and Jellymen’. And she hurries to catch aliens.

The illustrations by Paula are perfect depicting Annie’s imagination. The narration is easy to grasp. It makes you wonder how kids come up with so much imagination. Author has come up with a thought provoking subject that kindles every child’s imagination on what they would want to become.

The book is recommended for ages 4 and above but is good to look at pictures for children aged 3.

The book also helps them understand that it is natural to dream of more than one career or aspiration and we should never let go of our dreams and follow them seriously. The book would bring about a different perspective when being read to the child at different ages.

The book is rightly named “When I Grow up’ which is same as the poem Annie wrote.


Cover: 4/5

Plot: 4/5

Writing and presentation: 4/5

Title: 4/5

Overall: 4.5/5


Artist. Musician. Brewer. Designer. Footballer. Author.

These are all things that Jon has dreamed of being paid to do at some point in his life (with varying degrees of connection to reality).

During his time as a kindergarten teacher, Jon loved reading stories to his students and found it fascinating to see which ones they connected with above all others.

He dreamed of crafting THOSE stories. The ones that kids picked up first every time. The ones they bugged their teachers / parents / caregivers to read to them over and over again. The ones that adults didn’t mind reading one hundred times because they enjoyed the wordplay or loved the illustrations. The ones that contained positive, inclusive messages that didn’t get in the way of the pure enjoyment of reading.

It’s early days but Jon hopes he’s on the right path to that goal. In any case, it’s becoming increasing unlikely he’s going to be called to play up front for England.

This book was received from theAuthor, in exchange for an honest review.