A sweet celebration of differences.
There’s not a cardigan in sight, but the spirit of Fred Rogers is all over this rhymed chorus of “likes.” “You don’t look just like me. / You don’t see the things I see. / You don’t walk just like me,” but still and all, “You just like me! You just like me!” Bloom suspends pairs and larger groups of anthropomorphic young animals on plain, unmarked white backgrounds for these amicable declarations, and she goes to town on highlighting her figures’ diversity—dressing a gray elephant in a colorfully striped shirt, wrapping a looong scarf around a woolly llama’s looong neck, outfitting an ostrich with pink ruffles and a parasol a-dangle with pompoms, placing a wombat in a wheelchair and a little squirrel atop a tall unicycle. Nor are behavioral differences neglected, as a methodical porcupine (“I like to take my time”) leans over a blank sheet of writing paper while the tiger cub in the next seat (“I’m speedy”) is awash in notes and drawings. Scenes gradually fill up as the author gathers all and sundry together to dance (or shyly watch), to eat, and climactically to read (books printed and handwritten; in English, Danish, and Braille; a map; a sheet of music; a sewing pattern; a blueprint). The mood then calms for a concluding scene of two friends sharing an easy chair with a final: “I just like you! / Yes, I do.”
A manifesto to bridge the deepest chasms of otherness and to melt the stoniest of hearts. (Picture book. 4-8)