Author: Aron Simkins

Illustrator: David Abegg and Mike Kaminski
Publisher: Sweetwater Books
ISBN: 978-1-59955-945-2

My dreams had come true. All my hard work paid off. My dad was right – you can do anything you set your heart and mind to. No matter what anyone says, you can reach your dreams,” Aron Simkins writes in his children’s book, Dream Big: The Journey of the Jazz Bear.

This numbered thirty-two page hardcover targets preschool to early elementary school-aged children and readers who enjoy stories about bears and basketball. With no profanity, scary scenes, or violence, the book would best be read to beginner readers based on some of the more complicated wording. David Abegg and Mike Kaminski’s colored illustrations with green trimmed borders include brown font wording. A short biography on the author is located at the beginning of the book.

Meant to encourage children to do anything they put their heart and hard work into, this tome involves a bear who wants to make people laugh and cheer. Written from the bear’s perspective, he is asked during school what he wants to be when he grows up. With most wanting to be a zoo bear, a fisher, a forest ranger, or a beekeeper, he is set on being a performer, even though his classmates laugh at his dream vocation.

Going to bed that night, the discouraged bear tells his father about his desire and the parent reminds him that it is his decision alone. The bear practices tricks and entertaining others before going to an audition where he is asked to perform a very hard task, which he fails.

Although he is hired to assist a monkey perform, he keeps practicing his tricks and learns the chimp’s stunts as well. Come performance day, the monkey is injured so the bear is asked to step in and perform.

When the bear leaps through the air and dunks a basketball perfectly through a hoop, the crowd roars and cheers for him. The bear is happy his father taught him he could do anything if he is dedicated; he becomes the Utah Jazz Bear.

Promoting determination and persistence, this book teaches to not make fun of others for their dreams, do something you love, and practice it often to get it perfected.

Thanks to Cedar Fort, Inc. for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.


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