If Only...

If Only...
Age Range
Release Date
May 18, 2021
Buy This Book
Bestselling author-illustrator Mies van Hout employs vivid creatures in a jewel-tone natural setting to explore the longing we all feel at times to be like somebody else.

What child has not daydreamed about having wings like a butterfly? But secretly, the flashy butterfly yearns for a stick insect’s privacy. And the stick insect wants to swim like a whirligig beetle.

One after the other, the denizens of bestselling author-illustrator Mies van Hout's vibrant garden landscape wish to be like somebody else. From the glowing firefly to the capable spider to the adorable ladybugs, each one brings something to be admired. And when the dragonfly wishes to be like a child who can run, play, laugh, and build, a world of possibilities opens up.

A gentle but effective story for social emotional learning, If Only... allows children to reach their own conclusions and acknowledge that while it’s common to compare ourselves to others, it’s best to remember and celebrate what we ourselves can do.

Editor review

1 review
thought-provoking picture book about appreciating yourself as you are
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
IF ONLY... is an intriguing picture book that ultimately encourages readers to be happy with who they are. The book begins with a child thinking that if they were only a butterfly, they could fly anywhere. The butterflies are thinking that if only they were a stick insect, they would blend in better. This continues on until a bug is thinking about being a child.

What I loved: This was an intriguing concept, and I appreciated the ultimate message along the lines of the grass is always greener... This was unique with its walk through different bugs and insects, giving facts and features about them along the way. For instance, the book describes, in simple terms, the camouflage of stick insects, the community nature of bees, and more. Fans of bugs will delight in the many types featured in the book, and the vivid, full page illustrations bring them to life in a new, cartoonish way. The artistic style is really lovely, and the colors that are used are fantastic.

The pages turn really fast with each page having one if only phrase. This makes it great for toddlers through elementary school readers. The circle that starts with a child and goes through the bugs before coming back to children is a fun journey that will resonate with young readers.

Final verdict: A cute and thought-provoking read, IF ONLY... is a vivid picture book about being content with who you are. Recommend for toddlers through elementary school aged readers.
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