I AM I by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 5 - 12
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Two boys, one red-haired, the other blue-haired, on opposite sides of a river, challenge each other by declaring their superiority and importance. Their protestations escalate to explosive shouting and the destruction of life within their surroundings. Hatred and blame subside into remorse and a unified acceptance of each other, all the while keeping to their side of the river, or in a magnified view, to their property and side of the front yard. Based on a Native-American concept that one cannot stand on both sides of a river at once nor belong to two cultures, Fitzpatrick has created a sophisticated work offering multiple perspectives and opportunity for discussion. The spare text of declarative short sentences, handwritten in a variety of styles in black ink, expresses the boys’ thoughts distinctly. Yet, it is the exquisite full-page vividly colored paintings portraying themes of tolerance and acceptance, the futility of violence and the symbolic renewal of life through sprouting red poppies that are integral in this parable. Its salience and poignancy will be appreciated on many levels. (Picture book. 5-12)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-59643-054-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2006


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