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Young April is excited about visiting Grammie, but she has a whole week before she can go. The week goes by quickly, however, as April encounters new and diverse people while she runs errands with her mother. A little girl who talks with her hands, a woman who reads with her fingers, a grown-up who draws pictures for a living, and so many others fascinate her. April wonders why and how these people are different from her and learns how they are also very much alike. This celebration of a world of difference is sure to make every reader appreciate the distinctive qualities in themselves and everyone around them.
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.)
PreS-Gr 3-A sweet dose of bibliotherapy that explores the similarities and differences among people. The story is told from the point of view of a little girl anticipating a visit to her grandmother's house. Every day as she waits, the girl and her mother go on an errand. On each of these trips, the child encounters someone who is different-someone who is either older, speaks another language, has a disability, or is of a different race-but who is doing the same thing she is. Acrylic paints highlight only a few items or people in each of the pen-and-ink illustrations, inviting children to take a closer look while reinforcing the story's point. Tolerance and acceptance are difficult concepts to address for a young audience, and this book does it in a manner that can be applied to a number of situations.-Jane Marino, Scarsdale Public Library, NY