cover image Different Just Like Me

Different Just Like Me

Lori Mitchell. Charlesbridge Publishing, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-88106-975-4

No youngster will miss the belabored message of Mitchell's first children's book: though people are different from one another in some ways, basically they are alike. Young April comes to this conclusion as she rides a bus with two children who communicate in sign language, watches a blind woman reading Braille numbers next to an elevator and washes her hands in a rest room alongside a woman in a wheelchair. The author stretches her concept thin with several examples, among them a man beside her at a lunch counter who orders the same meal as hers. Oddly, after painstakingly spelling out how each person is different yet simultaneously the same as Alice, in two examples Mitchell pointedly sidesteps the issue of race. Mitchell's art presents another curiosity: though she opens and closes with finely detailed full-color scenes, in the remaining illustrations only the people appear in full color, against black-and-white backgrounds. While the visual effect may focus readers' attention on the individuals in question, kids may well feel cheated--by the absence not only of fully rendered artwork but of a story line as well. All ages. (Feb.)