Sandra Boynton needs no introduction for anyone with a toddler in their life, and I was very excited for the newest addition to the collection, this one a hardcover picture book instead of the classic board book, but still filled with the signature silly animals and great rhymes.
Not since Mo Willems' pigeon had to go to school ("The unknown stresses me out, dude") have I felt so seen and understood by an animal in a picture book, but this story spoke to me from the opening page:
The answer, our narrator suggests, is a chicken to cheer you on - and they humbly suggest themselves to fill this role. The very enthusiastic chicken cheers loudly (WOO HOO!) for lots of animals accomplishing lots of tasks. A pig learning to skate, hippos practicing ballet, and a dog who baked a cake. But when the chicken wakes up a sleeping bear (WOO HOO! WAY TO NAP!) who is unpleased to be woken, they start to feel bad:
Oooof. That hit hard - I am great at defining myself by my mistakes. But a wise little mouse reminds the chicken (and the reader) that everybody makes mistakes - that's how we learn - and celebrates that learning: WOO HOO...you tried your best. The mouse even suggests a little rest - after all, growing is a lot of work.
This is a great books for readers of all ages who could use a reminder that learning and growing is hard, and that we all deserve to be kind, gentle, and encouraging with ourselves. I'm looking forward to buying a personal copy for my coffee table and re-reading it when I'm having a tough day.