I Don’t Care is a clever book. This is not just because of the text of Julie Fogliano, but how it came to be. The illustrators, Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal are best friends, and they knew they had to do the art together. An afterwards (a small section at the end that you should read as well) shows how Molly thought since they lived 20 minutes from each other, easy peasy, right? Well, then Juana moved to Connecticut and the back and forth in the mail happened. And yet, it was still easy as besties know how to work together.
And the results of their hard work are the two best friends who Don’t Care that you think they have odd clothes. Or you do not like their father’s beard. They do not care if you think their frog picture looks like a bunny. And they do not care if you sing off key. Or that your house is too small or too big. They do not care if your brother is tall or short. They do, however, care that you play fair. And they care if you change the rules when the other is winning. And they care when you are sad, mad, or happy. They care that they are You and Me and We. They care about what brings them together and not what makes them different.
The story is sweet, simple, and yet, a lot is packed into the few pages. Fogliano’s story has adult concepts, yet they are easy to understand. The art and text support each other. The only real color in the book are the yellow and teal colors that are the favorite of the illustrators. The story is funny and thoughtful.
All ages can enjoy this book, but it is not necessarily a book the active child would sit and listen to unless in a read-aloud situation in school or bedtime.
As a sidebar, one of the things Idle and Martinez-Neal inform us in their afterwards is that sometimes they used one style and sometimes the other and sometimes mixed them. I couldn’t tell the differences, since the styles blend wonderfully, just like best friends do.