When I came across When I Grow Up for the first time in a used bookstore, that was my exact thought! I had no idea that Weird Al wrote children’s books. My memories of Weird Al were all from crazy parody songs some kid had me listen to on the bus back from a school show choir trip. And I was more curious than anything about what this book would be like.
I picked it up to check it out and was pleasantly surprised. When I Grow Up is a super cute story about a boy who is excited to share his ideas about his “future vocation” with his class and his teacher, Mrs. Krupp (why must they give teachers mean-sounding names?!). The only trouble is, he really doesn’t know what he wants to do.
This is another example of a book with vocabulary that is probably over the heads of most kids (mine included), but exposing them to those words is the only way they will learn them, so I say, the bigger the better!
I also love that this is a longer book that is still filled with rhyme. I should have known the language would be catchy with Al Yankovic as the author, but I had no idea it would be this good! Rhyme is really important for language awareness and understanding of how words work. And as books get longer and vocabulary gets bigger, many of them lose the rhyme that keeps kids enganged and learning. This one does not!
When I Grow Up also has a great message. Adults tend to ask kids what they want to be when they grow up all the time. Do not get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that question! It is actually one of my favorite questions to ask because it gives us so much insight into what our kiddos are interested in at the moment. The trouble can come if we don’t recognize that the answer to this question can (and maybe should) change with every passing minute.
When Billy tries to tell his teacher the multitude of different jobs he might pursue, and her reaction is that he is a tad ridiculous, we grown-ups learn the lesson that we should give our kids some (okay lots of) time before we pressure them to make those kinds of decisions. And the fact that my boys love the funny ideas Billy has about his possible career makes it even better.
So of course, when we saw My New Teacher and Me on the shelves, we knew we coudn’t pass it up. It certainly did not dissapoint!
The language is much the same as it is in When I Grow Up. All of the rhyme and all of the advanced vocabulary is still there. And I might love the message even more. Again, it is one that is more for the grown-ups to learn than the kids.
This time, Billy has a new teacher, and of course he continues his epic orations. As he does so, his teacher gets more and more upset about his antics and obvious exaggeration. When Mr. Booth (at least he has a nice name!) finally recognizes that he may need to open his mind, we parents learn the lesson right along with him.
My boys love the books, and they are ones we can go back to year after year because the lessons grow with them as they grow.
And guess what?! These books both have book trailers! If you don’t know about the first book trailer I shared, find that post here. See them below and let me know what you think about these books. Did you know about them already? Any recommendations of other books that include rhyming and advanced vocabulary? Find the links to the right to follow and comment on social media.
As always, thanks for reading!
When I Grow Up – by Al Yankovic
My New Teacher and Me – by Al Yankovic