cover image The Skin You Live In

The Skin You Live In

Michael Tyler, , illus. by David Lee Csicsko. . Chicago Children's Museum, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-9759580-0-1

This debut publication of the Chicago Children's Museum presents a jaunty rhyme that playfully explores the concept of skin to encourage self-esteem and to celebrate the ways in which children are both unique and similar. While Csicsko's cheerful, quirky art, which takes liberties with proportion and perspective, shows children of various skin colors engaged in different activities, the narrative invites readers to look at their skin: "The skin you have fun in; the skin that you run in; the skin that you hop, skip and jump in the sun in." The text then uses food-related metaphors as it pays tribute to skin tones: "Your coffee and cream skin, your warm cocoa dream skin... Your chocolate chip, double dip sundae supreme skin!" By pointing out what skin is not , subsequent verses affably emphasize that skin should not be divisive: "It's not dumb skin or smart skin, or keep us apart skin; or weak skin or strong skin, I'm right and you're wrong skin." Portraying four smiling children, the concluding spread declares, "when we stand side-by-side in our wonderful hues... We all make a beauty, so wonderfully true. We are special and different and just the same, too!" Though occasionally verging on saccharine, this spry poem delivers its message with appealing energy and confidence; slightly older readers may enjoy Julius Lester's recent Let's Talk About Race , illus. by Karen Barbour. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)