At first, I did not like My Cousin Momo by Zachariah Ohora. It is a typical story of the new kid (in this case a cousin) is not cool because he does not know how to do any of the games or things that they do. Of course, once everyone starts trying new things, they find out that Momo knows how to have fun after all. Plus, sometimes they can all agree that their way is more fun than how Momo does it. It just takes some time and compromises. At the end, the “here” cousins cannot wait to go see Momo.
Ohora’s signature art style is on every page. The colors and lines simple, but not necessarily simplistic. There are only the needed details to each image, but they can get busy at the same time. This does not take away from the story but allows the reader to read the images as well as the text. The adults will get a kick out of the fact that Momo is a flying squirrel and dresses as if he’s ready to start Sweating to the Oldies or Get Physical, but the kids will just appreciate how “different” he is.
Not only do you get the theme of “being yourself’ you also get the theme of “shyness.” As Momo is somewhat shy and does not want to do his special talent (remember he is a flying squirrel and his cousins are not). Plus, we get “giving people time to warm up to you” and “making them feel welcome.” By the time I got to the end, I realized my misgivings about the first page or two were correct, but when we see it all unfold, then I got to like it. And the illustrations grew on me. I am still not going to put this in my Top 10 Best books ever, but it is a book that I recommend.