I’M THE BEST by Lucy Cousins
Illustrated by Lucy Cousins
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd London
First Published 2011
Age range 2-5 years
I’M THE BEST by Lucy Cousins tackles the uncomfortable topic of competition between friends with cheeky humour. It follows the emotional development of “Dog” as he declares his supremacy over his friends, notices their reactions and is confronted by their respective efforts to highlight their own talents which surpass his. Dog learns that everyone is “the best” in their own way and that friendship matters more that being better than others. The final page is a cheeky return to his original declaration, suggesting that Dog has a little way to go until he truly understands that friendship is not a competition. This book allows the reader to experience the tension between the friends from different points of view and may be a useful resource for adults to discuss their child’s own behaviour and attitudes about hierarchy and winning. The language is simple and repeats the central phrase “I won, I’m the best”, which functions as chant that children can predict in each scene, allowing them access to the humour and irony of the fact that Dog is not actually the best, no matter how many times he declares it. The book is in a large square format with font that emulates a young child’s handwriting with a crayon like texture. The illustrations similarly reference a young child’s drawing with “messy” black outlines and bright pops of colour that don’t quite fill the shapes in the illustrations. Splashes of watercolour add to the vibrancy of the illustrations and help make them even more playful. The text and illustrations combine to create a tone of warmth and playfulness that might counter resistance to discussing a potentially embarrassing topic for a child.
This is a link to a young child reading “I’m the best” from the Fun2Learn youtube video channel and adding his own commentary, which includes facts about the animals. This is interesting to see a child’s comments and understanding of the book.