I Wish I Were a . . .

Overview

The ever perceptive meerkat examines his surroundings at the zoo. To the left of him, he finds the burliest bear of them all. To the right of him, the meerkat observes a hilarious monkey gracefully swinging from rope to rope; and straight ahead is by far the most powerful lion of all the land! If only this meerkat could be just like them!

But when a sudden dark shadow creepily emerges over the zoo, the meerkat is the first to alert his fellow companions of the impending danger. ...

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I Wish I Were a . . .

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Overview

The ever perceptive meerkat examines his surroundings at the zoo. To the left of him, he finds the burliest bear of them all. To the right of him, the meerkat observes a hilarious monkey gracefully swinging from rope to rope; and straight ahead is by far the most powerful lion of all the land! If only this meerkat could be just like them!

But when a sudden dark shadow creepily emerges over the zoo, the meerkat is the first to alert his fellow companions of the impending danger. Almost immediately after, the animals look up to him for his special skill. From afar, the bear admires his speed. The monkey aspires to have his vigilant eye. And as for the lion, he only wishes he could have the meerkat's swift decision-making skills.

Stefanie Jeschke's quirky illustrations compliment Werner Holzwarth's important theme of recognizing one's individual talents. Parents and children of all ages will certainly be entertained by this humorous tale and silly meerkat!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/12/2013
A zoo with a distinctly bureaucratic atmosphere is the setting for this story first published in Germany. Each animal sits idly in its enclosure, while the bucktoothed meerkat narrator stands guard over his troop, his gaze sweeping back and forth: “left... straight... right... straight.” This routine lets him look repeatedly at three other animals: “I see the bear... the chimpanzee... the lion... the chimpanzee.” With a dynamic combination of bright colors and scribbled lines, Jeschke paints portraits of animals whose expressions—the meerkat anxious, the bear lunkheaded, the chimpanzee vacant, the lion jaded—provide the book’s humor. The meerkat envies them (“I wish I were a lion. Then everyone would be afraid of me!”), but when he calls his troop underground and they respond instantly, the other animals envy him right back: “What a guy! the chimpanzee thinks. I wish I were a meerkat. Then I would be a good lookout.” While it’s a meditation on the general state of things rather than an action story, the illustrations make the shifting emotions plain and deliver the grass-is-greener message without pompousness or sentimentality. Ages 2–5. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
11/01/2013
PreS-K—Few would think it's possible for a meerkat to be anything other than absolutely adorable, but the protagonist in this picture book looks more like a sleep-deprived rat with weird ears and is unsympathetic if not downright annoying. The meerkat gazes admiringly at the funny chimpanzee, burly bear, and intimidating lion, wishing to be like all three, but the trio suddenly envies him for what they see as quickness, sharpness, and leadership. The plot turn is so anticlimactic textually and visually that kids will be hard-pressed to understand exactly what just happened. The book attempts to teach kids that they should celebrate their individual talents, but the overall effort is so poorly executed as to pull the message down with it. The artwork is unappealing, with bug-eyed zoo animals against drab backgrounds that curiously include squares of old notebook and graph paper. A real head-scratcher.—Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781620879931
  • Publisher: Sky Pony Press
  • Publication date: 9/10/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 986,679
  • Age range: 4 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Werner Holzwarth, born in 1947, is a professor of visual communication at the Bauhaus University in Weimar and works part-time as an author. In 1989, his children's book The Story of the Little Mole Who Went in Search of Whodunit, became a worldwide success, having been translated into twenty seven language.

Stefanie Jeschke studied visual communication at the Bauhaus University in Weimar. Since 2011, she has worked as a freelance illustrator.

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