Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ambition's Not An Awful Word by Zack Zage, Illustrated by Adam Watkins

Ambition's Not An Awful WordTitle: Ambition's Not An Awful Word
Author:  Zack Zage
Illustrator: Adam Watkins
Publisher:  Ivy Court Press
Published: March 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 32
Source: Won From a Goodreads
Read: August 3 2012
In A Few Words:  Ambitious, Colorful, Realistic
My Rating: 5  Stars
Goodreads: Add this book to your to-read shelf

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Mrs. Grundy asks her fourth grade class what they want to be when they grow up, Zack Zage goes all out. To his dismay, his precocious dreams are not met with great enthusiasm. Children will love this story about an ambitious little kid with big dreams. Ambition’s Not An Awful Word will have you and your kids laughing out loud. 

The illustrations by Adam Watkins are fabulous. And, the glossary is unforgettably funny. It is a gift to all the parents who have struggled to stay awake while reading a bedtime story to the kids.(less)

Melissa's Musings:

Ambition's Not An Awful Word is funny, educational, realistic, and hopeful all rolled into one. 

The first thing that caught my attention of course was the color. I love the color purple, and stars, so even though I'm not the 9-10 year old audience this is directed at I liked it just for that picture alone. 

Then once you get inside the book it's even better. It starts out with Zack's teacher asking the class what they want to be when they grow up.

I remember being a kid and having tons of answers just like Zack does. If I'm honest, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, even at 26. I may have a bit more focus now, but I still have lots of ideas. 

And just like the title says, these ideas are ambitious. They range from artist, to banker, to doctor and just about everything in between. The format of the story is that Zack has big dreams, and he wishes them wildly, putting in extravagant details of how his life as a certain professional would go. Then, on the next page, his dreams are taken down a notch with some realistic rebuttals.

My favorite of these is:
 "If I were a chef, Cordon Bleu at Versailles, I'd wear a white tuxedo, cummerbund and bow tie. I would saute like a maestro. My souffle would be premier. Julia Child would be my mentor. And I would have no peer."
 But the stove would yell out, "STOP! Don't put that oil in there. YOU still have a chance but I won't have a prayer. Tell the truth, you can't boil water, or make a piece of toast. Go outside. Light a fire. Have yourself a weenie roast." (pages 9-10)

As an adult, I see this from both sides. I appreciate Zack's hopefulness, and ability to dream big. But at the same time, I can also appreciate the other side. The side that says that no matter what your dreams are you may not always be able to achieve them, because life can get in the way. That right there is what I mean when I say this book is realistic. 

Regardless of that, there's absolutely nothing wrong with having big dreams. Like the book jacket says, this book is funny, but the true heart of it is found within the last ten words:
Oh, the moon left you this message, "It's okay to dream."
That's an important message for anyone, child or adult alike. No matter how big your dreams are, go for them.  You never know what could happen.

What are some of your dreams? 

*Sorry about the varying colors within this post, I'm having some formatting issues that I'm not sure how to solve with this post

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