Lee, a pea, and Colin, a carrot, are improbable friends in this picture book.
Lee is a pea, round and green, as peas are. All Lee’s friends are peas—all round, all green—except Colin, who is a carrot stick and is therefore an elongated rectangular shape and orange. Not only does Colin look different, he also can’t do the things that peas take for granted. He can’t roll, for instance, or bounce. But Colin can do other things—he can be a tower for the peas to jump from, a bridge for the peas to roll over, or, for even more pea-fun, a slide. Hood’s spare text strips the theme of accepting and embracing differences to its core, while her inventive and humorous illustrations are thought-provoking in their construction: they are collages made from plastic grocery bags. In picture books, the message of embracing difference is, thankfully, a popular one, but it is Hood’s dry humor as well as her illustrations, with their implicit message of turning throwaways into art, that make this story stand out.
Wonderfully understated humor, thought-provoking illustrations, and a spot-on theme about the enriching nature of embracing differences combine to create a story that is much more than the sum of its parts. (Picture book. 2-6)