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When I Grow Up

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,435 ratings  ·  328 reviews
'Cause maybe I'll be a gorilla masseuse Or an artist who sculpts out of chocolate mousse Or a rodeo clown or a movie director Or maybe professional pickle inspector...

Billy's classmates may have never considered careers in snail training or sumo wrestling before, but by the time the exuberant eight-year-old is done cataloging his dream jobs, they just might share his be

Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by HarperCollins (first published April 1st 2010)
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4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,435 ratings  ·  328 reviews

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Jul 03, 2011 rated it liked it
I read this with my seven year old daughter together -- she read one page and I read the other. Even though the rhyming pattern is Seussian, many of the word choices were way above her reading level. I only corrected her once or twice, and am fortunate to have made it through "master debater" without a mispronunciation.

The illustrations are a great companion to the story line.

My daughter didn't reach the same conclusion that Billy reached -- that being a teacher is a career that combines all of
Alyce Wilson
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In this fanciful children's book, the protagonist explores a variety of options for adult occupations, ranging from outre chef to gorilla masseuse. The playful verse by Al Yankovic (better known as music parody king Weird Al) is accompanied by colorful pen and watercolor illustrations by Wes Hargis.

Wisely, this young hero realizes that the answer to "what will you be when you grow up?" may not be simple. Learning from his grandfather, who held many jobs throughout his life, the boy suggests one
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hey...Do you miss Dr. Seuss? Yeah. Me too. The posthumous works that keep being dredged up simply do not compare.

But, you know, "Weird Al" is sort of like the good doctor (view spoiler) Or, at least, he has written something in the grand tradition of Seussian spiels, of paragraphs of absurd ideas strung together with a central theme. It dips into the ridiculous but never going all-in with word nonsense as Seuss might. One hilarious ide
Everything I hoped Jerry Seinfeld's Halloween would be, Al Yankovic's When I Grow Up turned out to be.

Billy is in the fourth grade and can't wait for the upcoming show and tell day when he can talk about all the things he'd like to be when he grows up. His dreams aren't just limited to the typical police officer or firefighter. Billy has some very interesting dreams including giving the cows a break by milking giraffes.

Told in Seuss-like rhyme, this is a clever, fun, well-illustrated and entert
Feb 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Won a copy from Goodreads. I was curious to see what kind of children's book Weird Al writes--it's cute! And it has just the right touch of nonsensical-ness that you'd expect from him. More importantly, my 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 year old love it.
Clinton Wilcox
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have been a "Weird Al" fan for most of my life, so I was very anxious to see how his treatment of a children's book would be. "Weird Al" is a master craftsman when it comes to writing original music that spoofs another band's or singer's style, as well as writing parodies. It seems he is also a master craftsman of children's book.

It is true that some of the words may be a little advanced for small children, it is refreshing to see someone who generally trusts his audience (and plus it gives th
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: concepts
When I saw the author, I just had to crack this one open. I was pleasantly surprised. A few giggles and funny illustrations, but ultimately a great message about just being who you are and realizing that you're never truly grown up. This might be a little long for preschoolers but would be a nice choice for a classroom.
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-children
"Weird Al" doesn't need other people's music to deliver the goods. His own considerable writing talent and imaginative way of looking at the world serve him and the audience of this book just fine.
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Weird Al proves he's as good at writing books as he is at writing songs. Hargis' illustrations are also fun and very well done.!
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big fan of Weird Al, so when I saw he wrote a children's book, I wanted to read it. The illustrations were cute, but the rhyming weirdness was what made this book so apprealing-made me think so much of Shel Silverstein, another great illustrator and writer! Very creative rhyming and funny.
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
A clever rhyming book about a young boy (Billy) telling his classmates what he might be when he grows up, written by the iconic "Weird Al" Yankovic. Many of his suggestions are not real jobs, but this is a kid;s book after all. Excellent illustrations by Wes Hargis and funny. Personally, I like Mike Reiss's "How Murray Saved Christmas" better in this rhyming sort of genre.
Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved it. Not sure about the reading level if I WAS the right age for the book. But I like challenges, especially when it's this fun. So challenge our kids all the more! But it would be an awesome gift to a early education teacher from your past! Especially if they're still teaching.
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've read this book to a class of Gr. 5 students and to a class of Gr. 7 students. Both loved it. Short, but entertaining. A perfect book for the beginning of a new school year.
April Voss
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Al Yankovic's "When I Grow Up", is brilliant. It is a fun filled book full of rhyming. Billy explains all the things he wants to be when he grows up in a detailed and creative fashion. He thinks since his grandpa has done so many things that he can too. Not only does this book teach rhyming, but it also teaches children that they can be anything and teaches about relationships.
The media used for this book is watercolors. Various shapes are used throughout the book to enhance the story and keep
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It's not an April Fool's joke. I love this book.

If you have an 8-year-old like I do, you will understand the wide-open-spaces dreaming of what to be when you grow up. It changes every day, and there's nothing better than hearing about those gigantic hopes and dreams.

Al Yankovic captures it perfectly with wonderful rhymes and great illustrations by Wes Hargis. (Yes, that Al Yankovic.)

"My walls will be filled with awards that I've gotten
For toast-on-a-stick and my Twinkies au gratin.
My kitchen wil
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, picture-books
Basic plot: Billy is 8 and has a lot of fun ideas for careers when he grows up.

I was entirely too excited when I discovered that "Weird" Al Yankovic had written a kids' book, and was even more pleased when I discovered that the book was excellent. Weird Al's humor has always been kid-friendly, so translating it into a kid book was a great way for him to branch out. He found a great artist, too, to add the visuals to the wacky career ideas he came up with. More impressive, though, is the message
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Eight year old Billy has a very active imagination and loves to share what is on his mind. One day at school he was counting down the minutes until it was show-and-tell because he loved this weeks topic. They were to share what they wanted to be when they grew up. Billy new exactly what he was going to say and no one was going to get in his way. The vocabulary in this books is rich and exposes readers to many new words and ideas. The illustrations add to the humor of the story and do a great job ...more
Kendra Person
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Audience: Primary (3-5)
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Pre-Reading Strategy: Vocabulary Word Map

This book is a very cute and well written text that is written in a rhyming format. Because it is written in rhyme, there tends to be some vocabulary words that I don't believe the typical primary students will be familiar with. In example, the word "vocation" might not be familiar to elementary students. Because of this, I would use the word map pre-reading strategy.
I would start by selecting a few vocabula
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Younger kids will love the rhythm of this book, but the vocabulary is for older students. The whold book is riotous, as would be expected from a book by Al Yankovic - yes, Weird Al Yankovic. So much can be done with this book with classroom assignments since the word choices are so outstanding, and the entire thing is one huge poem, but it can just be read as a hysterical poem as well. When our librarians book committee was reading it aloud to consider it for our book list, we were in tears of l ...more
Tamsin Barlow
Mar 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm so glad that one of my favorite musicians is also a fantastic writer. My only complaint is that this book came out too late for me to read to my own children! His big-hearted charm, humor, intelligence and delight in language completely delighted me. And the illustrations were the perfect compliment to the words. Well done, Weird Al.
Feb 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Really cute. I listened to a clip of Weird Al reading this on Amazon so when I read it, I could hear his voice in my head, which made it even better! Perfect for parent in search of a guest reader title.
Apr 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! I got it for me, my children are 16 & 18, but if they were 10 - 12 years younger they would get a big kick out of this book. Although they wouldn't like how Billy 'sucks up' to his teacher at the end, but it would be forgiven since the rest is so awesome!
Rebecca Martin
Oct 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: about-me
I love this book! I would use it in the classroom to talk to my students about growing up. I want my students to believe that they can do anything they put their minds to. I will motivate my students to be good people and I will read them great books like this everyday.
Age: Kindergarten-Third grade
Familiar Experience: what I want to be

Weird Al Yankovic expands potential professions for a slew of interests in this imaginative rendition of the age old question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" My favorite was the gorilla masseuse!
Michelle Phillips
This book was a hoot! Billy is a typical little boy, with big ideas about what he wants to be when he grows up. I love the way Yankovic brought the story to a close with the inclusion of Great Grandpa. A fun read for kids! I plan to read it to my 2nd graders next year.
Linda Atkinson
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
A forever fan of Al Yankovic's parodies, I was eager to read this title. A much calmer story than I would have expected, but a gem nonetheless. As one who has yet to set my sights on my final profession, I could totally relate to the theme.
Ashley Allen
This is a great book to use when talking with your students about their career choices. The boys imagination runs wild and it is a creative picture book. I would use this when introducting the students to careers and jobs and also letting them be creative.

Jenilyn, Read aloud
Kyle Fox
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
Five stars because they use the term "master debater" in a children's book!
Feb 08, 2011 marked it as to-read
Another children's book by a celebrity author!? But, I happen to think Weird Al is a bit of a genius so I have high hopes for this one :-)
Feb 11, 2011 marked it as to-read
I think my kids would get a kick out of this book. They love anything fun and goofy and most importantly, creative!
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Alfred Matthew "Weird Al" Yankovic is an American singer-songwriter, music producer, accordionist, actor, comedian, writer, satirist, and parodist.