I Am Me

Karla Kuskin, Author, Dyanna Wolcott, Illustrator Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-689-81473-0
An extended family's beach outing provides the perfect opportunity for all the relatives to point out the green-eyed, ponytailed narrator's myriad family resemblances. The girl reports their remarks with preternatural patience: ""My feet are Dad's, / except my funny little toe,/ which is a lot more like Aunt Jen's./ My voice is like hers too,/ quite low."" Ultimately, however, she clears her throat and declares that the whole is much more than the sum of its parts: ""I am positively/ absolutely/ altogether/ no one else but/ ME."" Kuskin's (The Philharmonic Gets Dressed) rhyming text ably captures the forbearing tone of a heroine who is clearly the apple of everyone's eye. Wolcott's (Dog Days) exuberant, full-bleed, double-page gouache and watercolor spreads play up the girl's spirit, thinly veiled in the text until its conclusion. Working in flattened perspectives and deep, dense colors, the artist creates a series of witty tableaux: a comparison of family toes, a swim where all that's visible of those in the sapphire water (including a dog) is one arm and a side-turned head. Readers will likely appreciate the familiarity of the situation and savor Wolcott's pictures of a memorable waterfront picnic. Ages 3-7. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2000
Release date: 06/01/2000
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