December 2002

Making life’s lessons fun

By Jamie Lee Curtis
Review by
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Those who enjoyed Jamie Lee Curtis' and Laura Cornell's previous books (When I Was Little and Today I Feel Silly) are in for a treat: a brand new collaboration called I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem. Like the previous efforts, this one is a joyous romp, filled with humor and lots of understanding about what makes kids tick.

As fans know, Jamie Lee Curtis can not only act, she can write best-selling children's books. She says her goddaughter inspired this one when she was trying on a dress Curtis had given her and proclaimed, "I'm gonna like me!" Two narrators, a boy and a girl, do the talking, so the upbeat, funny messages about self-esteem are squarely aimed at both sexes. The kids alternate by explaining many different "I'm gonna like me when . . ." situations, some fun but many universally distressing or scary for kids, like getting on a school bus alone and waving goodbye to one's parents, giving the wrong answer in school, or falling down and getting hurt. The rhyming text is short and jaunty: "I'm gonna like me when I don't run so fast. Then they pick teams and I'm chosen last." Curtis adds funny twists to familiar childhood pains: "I'm gonna like me when I eat something new even if Grandma makes octopus stew."

Matters of politeness and morals are also addressed, as in "I'm gonna like me when I open the box and smile and say 'Thanks' even though I got socks." Laura Cornell's artwork is nothing less than exuberant. Her cute, cocky kids have boundless energy and winning smiles, and each page is filled with a multitude of interesting expressions and details. Just watch the bespectacled boy go through numerous gyrations as he sails through the air before falling flat on his face. Watch grandma whip up that octopus stew (after hauling it out of the ocean). Read the various lunch containers at the cafeteria table: T-Bone on a Stick, No Beef Allowed, Global Warming Soup Thermos and even Pork By the Foot! The humor brings to mind a Roz Chast cartoon.

I'm Gonna Like Me is a great way to give a child a little lesson in fact many little life lessons without them ever knowing it! And the best part is, both you and the child will be smiling as you read.

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I’m Gonna Like Me

I’m Gonna Like Me

By Jamie Lee Curtis
Joanna Cotler
ISBN 9780060287610

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