In this children’s celebration of diversity, 5-foot-tall marketing expert Vee shows children that their differences can also be their strengths.
Little Jimmy, the author’s cartoon stand-in, is “unusually small,” but he doesn’t mind. “Each person is different,” he assures young readers, before going on to share how being short, tall, bespectacled, big, bald, large-nosed or scarred can be beneficial in life. He also highlights learned skills: “I can talk without moving my lips. / That’s what makes me a ventriloquist! / It is a thing that most people can’t do… / And something that makes me unusual too.” The book also touches on race as a quality that can make readers unique, although this aspect isn’t emphasized. The cartoonish illustrations show a multiethnic cast of various sizes and shapes, as befits the narrative, and Motz’s art style is sure to appeal to young readers. Although the rhymes are occasionally clunky,they flow well when read aloud. Problematically, however, Vee uses the word “lame,” which could refer to disability, as a negative. Also, at one point, a boy initially appears darkly scarred, but his injury is downplayed in a later illustration, after he becomes famous. However, these minor flaws don’t undermine the overall message. The book includes a page for young readers to write down “what’s unique about you,” and uses some vocabulary words, such as “ventriloquist” and “exploit,” clearly enough in context that independent readers should be able to gather their meanings. The book also encourages readers to learn about Vee’s Same Is Lame Foundation, at the author’s website.
Lap readers and independent readers alike will be drawn to this book’s cartoonish illustrations and inclusive message.