Today’s books range from ABC and 123 learning to letting you know that you can do anything if you try to a girl growing antlers and a boy waking up flat. And when you find a handful of books that deal with being different and different is okay, the only thing you can do is write reviews about them so others will read them too.
I found a board book the other day called My Two Dads and Me. It is written by Michael Joosten. It has illustrations Izak Zenou. It is a sweet conversation told from the point of view of the children of two dads. All races and ages are seen while dads take walks, play, and bathe their children. Everyday events are as every day as, every day! There is a lightheartedness and straight forwardness to the tone of the narrator. The art is adorable, as we see tall dads, balding dads, dads of all races and their children. The illustrations are realistic, with a whimsy to them. Good colors and details.
The book was The Smeds and the Smoos by Julia Donaldson. The cover (and interior illustrations) are two funky alien/monsters of Axel Scheffler mind. The premise: Dr. Seuss meet Gnomeo and Juliet (Romeo and Juliet with gnomes). That is all. Once I say that, that is all you need to know. The ending is obvious, but the story is still fun none the less. The moral of the story is “play with whomever you want. Love whomever you want. And you might just find a special way to bring Blue and Red people together.” (Think Purple). It is a clever, amusing way to bring the “love conquers all” theme to life. Not only are the illustrations boldly colorful, but the text is also bouncy and goofy.
If you want a story about being different and how the children bridge that gap you want Every Little Letter by Deborah Underwood and Joy Hwang Ruiz (illustrator). This story about being different is a slam dunk for the kids can do it if they try. The villages are segregated (all H’s in one area and L’s in another, etc.). But the children of these villages (the lower-case letters) find ways bridge the gaps (there is a hole in a wall, paper airplanes fly over the walls). Cartoon, colorful, but not “in your face” illustrations cut the seriousness of the text but are not goofy or “too silly” allowing the message to come through. They are just silly enough (after all letters with eyes are always a bit on the sillier side of silly).
Most ages can find something in each title. My Two Dads in its board book format does lean towards the toddler crowd, but it is an easy read for the older starting to read harder words group. The Smeds and Smoos best fit the 5 and up reader/listener, but younger kids will get a kick out of the far-out illustrations and making their own story. Every Little Letter does lean towards a younger listener, but older readers can do some solo reading.