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I DON'T CARE by Julie Fogliano Kirkus Star


by Julie Fogliano ; illustrated by Molly Idle & Juana Martinez-Neal

Pub Date: Nov. 22nd, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4345-1
Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

A friendship book made by friends.

Fogliano’s title may prompt thoughts of Sendak’s Pierre, who doesn’t care—until he encounters a lion. There aren’t any perilous felines in this picture book, however, and there are two protagonists. At first, one child occupies the verso, with teal highlights in the grayscale graphite-and-linocut illustrations. The other is on the recto, with yellow highlights. It appears they are at odds, with the gutter between them seeming to symbolize an emotional barrier as opening text reads, “i really don’t care what you think of my hair / or my eyes or my toes or my nose.” Soon, though, subtle changes in facial expressions and posturing reveal the friends’ true feelings as Fogliano’s deftly rhymed verses, which never miss a beat in their cadence or in their emotional resonance, help readers realize that while the friends don’t care about surface matters like appearance, attire, or possessions, they do care about each other. Compositionally, they end up occupying shared space on the spreads and will doubtlessly take up residence in readers’ hearts, too, with lines like “but mostly i care that you’re you / and i’m me / and i care that we’re us and i care that we’re we” sealing the deal. Both children have skin the color of the page; one has darker hair, while the other has lighter hair. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

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(Picture book. 3-8)