A dog who daydreams of being human asks her animal friends to imagine what their lives would be like, too, in W.B. Tyler’s children’s book, If I Were Human.
Brina, a Scottish terrier-like pup, is watching one of her human housemates play a video game one day when the father of the house remarks that Brina “sometimes…seems almost human.” This causes Brina to imagine what she’d do if she were human.
She wants to be a student who gets to go to school, play on the swings, and eat popcorn when she gets home. The other dog in her family wants to go to work and have an office job with lots of responsibilities. Brina also learns that the backyard squirrel wants to be a chef, and the dog next door wants to be a movie star. At the end of the story, though, after being fed and played with and rewarded with treats, Brina decides that if she were actually human, she’d wish to be a dog.
A sweet, if simple, narrative that plays with the “grass is greener” trope, If I Were Human provides readers with examples of the freedoms and activities that make being human so exciting, while also exploring the simple pleasures of being a pampered pet. Young readers will enjoy the canine perspective and the cute, colorful illustrations of animals doing “people” things like riding the train and gardening.
Although several activities listed reflect an adult’s lifestyle that children might not relate to (giving “important presentations” and serving guests soup, for instance), the majority remain relevant dreams, especially for young people who like to imagine doing activities beyond their current purview.
This is a book with a quiet plot that delivers a resonant message: Dreaming is important, but so is appreciating the good things you already have.
Also available in paperback.