The educational picture book “If I Were a Grown Up” shows us life through children’s eyes. Kids have a hard time understanding the values of good manners and the reasons for which they should behave and listen to their parents. Raising a kid is not an easy job but parents should understand that every order they give their children demands an explanation. If they expect their kids to behave decently at the table then they should explain why it’s so important. Even though kids won’t get everything at first they will imitate their parent’s movements at the table. If everything is explained to them with a calm, soothing voice then they will feel better and will behave at the table every time.
Kids aren’t bad and if their parents keep on repeating to them every day not to misbehave then they will perceive it as an order without knowing what the proper way to behave is. It is better to use affirmative phrases with kids such as: “Sit nicely and talk quietly”. If the word “no” is bound to be used then it should come with an explanation.
Parents should mostly use the “I wish/I don’t wish” while they talk to their children. Also, they should keep in mind that their kid will imitate them so they should be a role model for them.
In this story, we see a boy who is too young to understand his parents so during your reading stop at each order and ask your kid if they understood what he heard and does he agree with it. Your child will probably give you interesting answers and you will be able to understand him better.
Genre: educational picture book
Theme: how would a boy behave if he was a grownup?
Here we have the boy’s life from his own perspective. The story begins with his statement that every kid, even he, knows that it’s much more fun to be bad than it is to be good. If an adult relates to this statement they will realize immediately what the boy meant. The word bad is maybe a bit inappropriate here because kids aren’t bad, they are just testing their parent’s limits. They are always inventing new ways to attract their parents’ attention and that is the reason why they can’t sit still, don’t know how to use a knife and fork and it takes them a long time to wash their hands.
Children need their parent’s help every day so that later on they would know how to do everything on their own and be able to function in the society. If the parents keep on repeating the same phrases such as: “Don’t misbehave”, “Be good”, “Be obedient” kids won’t get the hold of them because they won’t understand them completely. Parents, unintentionally, send their children the wrong message. If they want their kids to behave then they should work on it every day and have a lot of patience.
The boy thinks it’s easier to be an adult because you can do as you please. Yu can wear the clothes you want, bend out the window when you hear a siren, drink water and go to bed when you want. Orders like “Wash your hands” or “Wear a sweater” are everyday news for kids and if they don’t obey the orders will be repeated until they do and the boy just didn’t understand what all of that upbringing was good for.
If the boy were an adult he would act completely different than his parents. Instead of sitting on a chair he would kneel. He would wear a white glove and drag it across a steel fence and he would plant a seed in the toothbrush cup so it would grow. Before lunch, he would eat a chocolate and catch flies with his hands. He doesn’t understand that things like that don’t happen in the adult’s world and that everyone would think he is weird an unmannerly. The kid would like to be so much more when he grows up.
He would marry a girl that behaved similar to him and he would have children with her and they would play together all day. Their kids would be a unmannerly as their parents. Except for letting his kids do as their please, the boy would get the bigger balloon, the biggest ice cream and climb the biggest hill because otherwise there would be no point in being an adult. Luckily he is just a kid and has to obey his parents.
Despite everything he still didn’t understand his parents. Why don’t they do the things they can because they’re adults? Why are they obedient and do everything that they teach him to do? The answer is: “Because they are good and well raised”.
Éva Janikovszky Biography
Éva Janikovszky is a Hungarian writer, born on April 23rd, 1926 in Szeged. She wrote children’s and adult’s novels but her children’s book made her famous. Her works were translated into about 35 languages.
She published her first book in 1957. Her fairytales and stories intrigued the kids because she always wrote from kids or teenagers perspective and gave opinions about emotions they’ve been going through. She wanted to show the difference between the generations and she was always on the children’s side.
She won many awards. Her books were illustrated by László Réber. Some of the works are: “Something’s always happening to me”, “Just who does this child take after”, “Be Glad it’s a Girl”, “It Was Like This” and many others.
She died in Budapest on July 14th, 2003.