I Did It! by Michael Emberly

I Did It! by Michael Emberley. Holiday House, 2022. 9780823446513

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover early reader

What did you like about the book? An indistinct but cute critter learns the value of persistence in this “I Like to Read Comics!” installment.  Despite initial enthusiasm for every challenge, attempts at block stacking, rope climbing, and other skills all end in frustration and a cry of “I can’t do it!”  In each instance, various small friends try to help, but to no avail.  When it comes to learning to ride a bike, however, they all agree that giving up is not an option.  There is a crash, and the bike breaks; the pals fix it and provide a cheering section as the critter manages to go a few feet before crashing again.  This time there is an exultant “I did it!” as all the characters jump for joy.

There is a lot of activity in this book despite its uncluttered appearance.  Simple dialog, consisting mainly of variations on the title sentence primarily uttered by the main character, is conveyed in plain speech bubbles, making this a good fit for emergent readers.  The quirky cast of characters are sketched in pencil and digitally colored; they cavort across a clean white background with energetic movement and easy-to-understand emotion on their faces.  The themes of perseverance and teamwork are not subtle, but certainly always worth reinforcing.  Kids will love the little details in each character’s appearance; in addition to the main character’s bright red nose and striped pajamas (with matching pointy ears and a long tail), there is a raccoon whose mask seems to be actual goggles, an odd little elephant with square ears and bendy limbs and trunk, a tiny alligator wearing an oversized red hoodie, and a robot that seems like it might be made of cardboard.  And they all wear bicycle helmets at the end.    

Anything you did not like about the book? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  A good pick for fans of Elephant & Piggie and others of that ilk, for its cheerful characters and positive message, as well as its accessibility for emergent readers.     

Who should buy this book? Preschools, public and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Early readers/comics

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.

Date of review: November 30, 2022

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