If Only…

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If Only…

By Mies van Hout
Picture Book Ages 4–7
ISBN: 978-1-77278-196-0
List Price: $22.95 CAD / $17.95 USD
Hardcover with dust jacket
Trim size: 8.67 x 10.5 inches / 22.02 x 26.67 cm
Pages: 28

Publication date: May 11, 2021

Distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services

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.


“Spread after spread of exuberantly busy, beautiful life….A visual delight, this picture book offers openings for conversation about wishes, predictions, and one’s own enviable strengths.”—School Library Journal ★ Starred Review

“The imaginative narrative guides viewers through a series of richly colorful, dynamic collages, each showcasing a creature and its particularly enviable ability, characteristic, or situation….Originally published in the Netherlands, this radiant picture book has international appeal.”—Booklist Starred Review

“This gentle celebration of differences also promotes an appreciation of others’ strengths and quietly emphasizes relationships within the animal kingdom. A colorful introduction to the natural sciences featuring warm and inviting illustrations.”—Kirkus Reviews

“This luminous picture book…brilliantly explores the personal – and universal – conundrum of wanting what you don’t have and yearning to be someone else…If Only…will spark reflection and an appreciation of differences.” —CM Reviews

“Fans of bugs will delight in the many types featured in the book, and the vivid, full page illustrations bring them to life… A cute and thought-provoking read… about being content with who you are. Recommend for toddlers through elementary school aged readers.”—YA Books Central

“[A] beautiful story that is equally beautifully illustrated. This message is so important for our youth-to celebrate and value yourself and what makes you unique.”—Mrs. Book Dragon