I Want to Be Like...
by K. M. Anderson
Trafford Publishing

"Zack tells Billy, 'I want to be like... them!'"

Zack and Billy are colorless, star-shaped best friends. Living in a dynamic world of bold lines and brilliant color, they decide to take a trip to the paint shop. Bounding through the colorful parking lot on their pogo sticks, the two friends soon enter the store and summon the paint shop owner. Inside, Zack is dazzled by the various posters on the wall, each one advertising a world of paint colors and styles to choose from. Zack quickly settles on painting himself a brilliant shade of red, but just as the red paint begins to dry, he soon decides blue with orange spots is much better. Moments later, he changes his mind once again in favor of a vibrant green with a single pink stripe. As Zack goes from one style to the next, Billy and the shop owner are happy to oblige, painting and drying Zack multiple times. In the end, however, Zack asks the owner to wash away the layers of paint he has acquired during his visit. He no longer wants to be like the characters in the posters. Instead, he wants to be himself, comfortably stripped of color.

Zack's experience in the paint shop imparts a valuable lesson to young readers. His experiments with various paint colors and styles represent a search for identity, one that cannot be resolved by glossy advertisements or found inside a can of paint. Ultimately, Zack finds comfort in being himself, even if that means washing away the brilliant shades of reds, blues, and greens that so enchanted him. A brief narrative told through few words and simple line drawings, this book is best suited for emerging readers that will benefit from sounding out the story of Zack's search for his identity.

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