Saltzberg upends traditional spot-the-difference design.
A carefully chosen set of four objects is offered—most similar but not quite the same and sometimes vastly different. Three cows and one elephant? The titular phrase comes in handy. “One of these is not like the others.” But the page turn reveals all four clasping hooves and trunk and celebrating: “And that’s just fine with us.” Three dogs and one cat? “One of these is not like the others.” The cat’s nervous mien prompts misdirection to assumptions of stereotypical cat-and-dog relationships. “But we can still be friends.” Saltzberg goes on to compare more surprisingly visually similar items, such as three cowboy hats and a fish rising from a puddle, mouth agape, to mimic the outline of the headwear. The fish is then wearing all the hats in the following spread: “Because you can never have too many hats.” Placed on a blank white canvas, the sets are simple and uncluttered. Young readers will jump at the chance to point out the differences. But those differences are what are celebrated! It’s impossible to not hum the Sesame Street song of similar wording, but instead of not belonging, the different objects are accepted and embraced. “Some of us are a little different. // And that’s the way we like it!”
Subversive and clever, this book challenges readers to change habits of thought. (Picture book. 3-7)