A first lesson in the finer points of sharing.
“People share with people,” asserts the titular refrain, and several kewpie-doll–like children displaying an array of skin colors and hairstyles engage in various activities that depict how easy or difficult it can be for young children to share toys and treats. A secondary refrain is puzzling: “what’s mine is mine, / what’s yours is yours, / but I’ll share mine with you”—shouldn’t the sharing be mutual? Despite an explanation that children are human and not animals and therefore should share, the underlying logic (“Selfish isn’t cute!”) seems quite abstract for a young child. Moreover, “I’ll share when I am done” (depicted by a child slurping from a water fountain while another waits) seems to belie the altruistic premise of the book. Though Wheeler and Idle’s first collaboration, People Don’t Bite People (2018), was good fun, this one feels a little too preachy for this young audience, however praiseworthy the messages of respect and kindness. Friendly illustrations feature cheery colored-pencil scenarios on alternating white and colorful backgrounds. However, the children lack distinctive features that would enable young readers to identify and learn about difference and instead come across as cookie-cutter depictions. Some children of color are rendered in such a way that their noses and mouths are difficult to make out.
Like the paper dolls depicted on the endpapers, the characters in this story lack individuality. (Picture book. 4-8)