Reviews /

Incredible Jobs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

Authored by Natalie Labarre
Illustrated by Natalie Labarre
Published by Nosy Crow Ltd

Tagged ,

Before opening this non-fiction book, I was intrigued; I found myself asking what jobs might be included, and as an adult, would I have heard of them? The end papers seemed to provide some clues – an array of hats and head pieces. Incredible Jobs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of provides the reader with a brief outline of some astonishing and highly unusual professions – from bridge painters to sloth nannies; space psychologists to Imax screen cleaners; snake milkers to golf ball divers; professional mourners to cheese sculptors. I found myself looking up some of these professions: did they really exist? It seems they really do.

The book is organised into double-page spreads, each with a loose theme, for example, Jobs with Colour; Jobs Which Are Totally Out of This World; Jobs Which Don’t Sound Like a Job at All. The information can be read in any order. Some spreads are more difficult to navigate due to the amount of text and its arrangement on the page. Each job is given two or three sentences, and these are mostly long and complex. This means this book is more suited to upper Key Stage 2 readers if being read independently.

The intended tone of the book is light and informal. Natalie Labarre’s comic style illustrations make it look rather enticing and add to the sense of fun. The text contains lots of slang: icky, phew, whiff and lots of asides intended to amuse the reader. This may appeal to children, but the subject matter itself is fascinating and this language felt rather unnecessary, impacting on the clarity and authority of the information being shared. One thing to note is a reference to Queen Elizabeth II which made me question whether Incredible Jobs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of will stand the test of time. The publication date is 2019. Of course, new jobs will constantly evolve so perhaps this means this is a book with the potential for a sequel.

On the final page, Natalie Labarre addresses the reader directly, telling them not to worry if they don’t yet know what their dream job might be:

‘The trick to choosing the right job for you, no matter how unusual, is to know yourself. What do you LOVE to do? Do you know what you’re good at? In a constantly changing world, there are brand new jobs popping up ALL the time.’

She goes on to tell the reader that there are no rules and it’s fine to change our minds. This seems like good advice to end with. Incredible Jobs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of would be a fun addition for the school library. I can imagine children reading it together, pausing to chat about the feasibility of some of the professions and engaging with the interactive aspects. In this sense, this book does achieve its goal – to tell the reader about different jobs they surely won’t have heard of.

Shortlisted for the Waterstones Book Award 2024 Illustrated Book Category