By: Annie Barrows
Illustrated by: Leo Espinosa
Published: September 20, 2022
Publisher: Chronicle Kids
Annie Barrows is the author of one of my all-time favorite books, THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY. I read it back in 2008 and also read her book THE TRUTH ACCORDING TO US in 2015. When this book arrived in the mail, I was thrilled to see her name on the cover.
First of all, I LOVE Espinosa’s illustrations. They have a retro feel and even though they are simple, they fill the page with color and whimsy. He also represents diversity in his illustrations.
Humans are like some things and completely different than others. We are like a swimming pool because we have water and chemicals inside of us, but we don’t have people splashing around inside us. So we are only a little bit like a swimming pool. This book is full of silly comparisons and not-so-obvious comparisons.
Aside from the comparisons to what we are like and how we are different, there is also a discussion about a quality that might make it seem like someone is better than us. Then the book engages with the reader finding ways the reader and the boy in the book are alike and different. But, even if you are different in some ways, you are more alike than being like a hyena or a mushroom.
Overall, this book reminds all of us to embrace our differences and find connections with those who are different from us. Maybe we have different colored skin, but we both love to play soccer. Maybe we are of different ages, but we both love to listen to classical music. This book is great for a classroom or family read-aloud to talk about how we manage our differences with others on the playground, in the classroom, or in our everyday experiences. Kids will love the silly comparisons and realistic conversations that naturally happen after reading.
Annie Barrows has written scads of books for children, including the New York Times bestselling chapter book series Ivy + Bean, as well as the Iggy series, a young adult novel, some picture books, and a couple of books involving magic. If Annie could be like something else on earth, she would probably choose an excavator. Or a tiger. To find out more about Annie, visit www.anniebarrows.com.
Leo Espinosa is a New York Times bestselling illustrator. He was awarded a prestigious Pura Belpré Honor for the picture book Islandborn, written by Junot Díaz, and his illustrations have been featured in numerous publications, including the New Yorker. In addition to his love of drawing, Leo enjoys pedaling up and down the mountains around Salt Lake City, Utah, where he lives; so you could say he’s both like a pencil and a bicycle.