I Need My Own Country! – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Time for Susanna Leonard Hill’s PPBF!

But first, let’s form a new political party, one run by children’s picture book writers and illustrators. It will be the nicest, most generous political party ever. There will be sharing of snacks and toys and saying please and thank you. No hitting, biting, bullying, or other anti-social behavior. There will be copious amounts of laughter at brilliant puns, riotous rhymes, and lyrical bedtime stories sending us into the land of nod. 

I don’t know about you but I’m thinking about moving to Canada, a place where reasonable human beings live. Where people are thoughtful and nice to each other. But first, a civics lesson:

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“There comes a time in all kids’ lives when

they need to create their own country.

When this happens to you…

The first thing you will do is

decide on your country’s location.”

You desperately need your own space, away from your pesky little brother. So you establish your country on hallowed ground, your room, give it a name, and create a flag. The dog, cat, goldfish, and toys become citizens. 

You make rules and create punishments for breaking the rules. 


You choose a leader (oh my, we won’t go there). You select a cabinet, write a national anthem, print money, etc. 

Now here’s where things start to go off the rails. Civil unrest. Natural disasters. Invasions. Battles.

Just as you regain your equilibrium, you figure out that you must visit foreign countries, where you have to eat the food placed in front of you. And sometimes those visits don’t go as planned.

Which leads to preparations for yet another invasion…

“But be careful.”

This is where leaders should tread carefully.

You discover that those foreigners are really coming in peace!!!!

And surprise! You might want to change the rules to allow them in and make them citizens, because after all “It’s your country.”


And “Friends are more fun than enemies.”

That ends our civics lesson for today. If you feel this message is too political, it’s surely the product of your artist sensibilities. Children’s book writers and illustrators are highly imaginative.

Title: I Need My Own Country

Author: Rick Walton

Illlustrator: Wes Hargis

Publisher: Bloomsbury 2012

Ages: 5+



41 thoughts on “I Need My Own Country! – Perfect Picture Book Friday

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Aha! Up early this morning, reading and commenting, I see. I hope that I’m not being too didactic. Or maybe that is my hope. I’d hate to think I no longer have hope. Thanks for stopping by and giving this a Tweet!

  1. Lindsey McDivitt says:

    Fun and thought provoking picture book–so glad to learn of it. Don’t move away Jilanne! Agreed its easy to get discouraged lately, but let’s hold the line and keep improving this great country!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      The Great Google Search Engine knows so much about us. Perhaps we should all start Googling “how to be kind,” and that will turn the tide in the other direction. Thanks for stopping by!

        • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

          Ha! My 12-yr-old son came home the other day, saying “There will be hell toupee.” Then he spent the next five minutes laughing. Truffles, OTOH, are serious chocolate. Don’t mess with them!

          • m lewis redford says:

            uh, excuse me, but truffles are “a strong-smelling underground fungus that resembles an irregular, rough-skinned potato, growing chiefly in broadleaved woodland on calcareous soils. It is considered a culinary delicacy and found, especially in France, with the aid of trained dogs or pigs” before they are sweets, and I meant every ounce that that implies [I understand that they are especially liked by pigs too – which just gets better and better] … mind you, cred to your son’s giggler

          • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

            Ah, yes. Now there’s a horse of a different color! I don’t like them or their oil-infused truffle-ness. I will leave them to the trough. In the meantime, I shall defend the chocolate ones down to their theobromine goodness.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Oh, I hope so! And wouldn’t it be fun for each kid to create their own country? with all of the things associated with that, including a flag, an anthem, a national bird, a cabinet, etc? A terrific exercise!

  2. julie rowan zoch says:

    Keep away from mass media and you’ll fare better! Every country has it’s advantages and things to improve, the trick is we all need to roll up our sleeves. Sounds like a good book!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      You, my dear, are a children’s book writer/illustrator, so you’ve clearly used your imagination and misunderstood this to be a political post. All resemblance to any person, event, etc. is entirely your creation. 😉

      But yes, you’re right. I should stay away from the media. I should only read kidlit. My mental state would be so much improved.

  3. Mrs. P says:

    Cute…mine would be an island which you can only visit by invitation. Too much dram and we move the island, just like in the series LOST. 😉

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