An elephant and a mouse are best friends even though they have different tastes in just about everything.
Big, an elephant, and Little, a mouse, enjoy a close friendship that includes spending lots of time together, even though they have opposite tastes. Garland’s accessibly simple, rhyming text (set in a somewhat clunky typeface) spells it out in a no-nonsense back-and-forth style: “Big likes up, Little likes down. / Little likes square, Big likes round.” The litany encompasses a truly vast number of points on which Big and Little differ. By the end of the story, Garland reveals that Big and Little, being so different, occasionally have fights, but they always make up because they realize that they “are who they are. No need for a change!” And this message of acceptance of differences is heartening and much needed. Garland’s digitally rendered illustrations, while colorful and lively, are visually discordant. Soft blending within the mouse and the elephant figures is juxtaposed against their sharp outline edges—a visually jarring look. Impressionistic backgrounds and foregrounds, too, are interspersed with sharp-edged objects as well as photorealistic ones. The overall impression is one of too many digital effects that don’t harmonize well.
A book whose theme of opposite personalities being best friends is a welcome, uplifting one but whose illustrations lack visual coherence. (Picture book. 3-5)