Dog is the best at everything. He can run faster than his friend Mole (I won, I'm the best!!), dig much better than his friend Goose (I won, I'm the best!!), is a much better swimmer than his friend Donkey (I won, I'm the best!!) and is bigger than his friend Ladybird (I won, I'm the best!!).
Dog's friends start feeling very bad about themselves until Ladybird realises that actually, Mole can dig better than Dog, Goose can swim better than Dog and Donkey is much bigger than Dog. Dog is not the best and when he realises that he has been quite a terrible friend as well, he feels so very bad.
This is a really great story on so many levels. It is so very much fun to read aloud, particularly shouting out "I win, I'm the best!!" and sobbing Dog's great sorrow when he realises how terrible a friend he has been. It naturally brings up the idea that different people (or animals) are good at doing different things, we all have a particular skill that we excel at, but no one person can be the best at everything. And it also plays through the overly competitive trait that kids can pick up around the 3-5 age, I know my two little ones are forever shouting "I win! I win!" over the most trivial thing.
Join all this with a twist on Lucy Cousin's famous illustration style, combining her bold colour choice and black outlined characters with wild splashes of water colours that bring the pages to life, and you have a winner of a picture book that will be pulled from the shelf over and over again. It seriously is the best.
Title: I'm the Best
Author/Illustrator: Lucy Cousins
Publisher: Walker Books, $16.99
Publication Date: 2 May 2011
For ages: 3-7