________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 33 . . . . May 5, 2017


Different? Same!

Heather Takavec. Illustrated by Pippa Curnic.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2017.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-77138-565-7.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Linda Ludke.

*** /4



We are all different, as different as can be.
Take a quick look – it's easy to see …

I'm blubbery [Walrus]

I'm wrinkly [Elephant]

I'm bristly [Warthog]

I'm smooth [Narwhal]

But look closer now …
We all have TUSKS!

      In this engaging nonfiction picture book, the differences and similarities between diverse groups of animals are explored. At first glance, the four creatures presented on each double page spread seem to have nothing in common with each other. The Zebra, Bumblebee, Lemur and Tiger all have different methods of locomotion and small vignettes show how they respectively "gallop", "fly", "leap" and "prowl". Their unifying trait is having a striped appearance. The Tiger, Walrus, Wombat and Dog live in different habitats, namely the "jungle", "Arctic", "forest" and "a house", but they all have whiskers. A Blue Jay, yellow Butterfly, black Bat, and pink Flamingo sport different colourings, but they all have wings. Different sounds come out of a Bat ("squeak"), Cat ("meow"), Bear ("growl"), and Snake ("hiss"), but they all have fangs.

      This clever concept book encourages close inspection. Each double page spread follows the same pattern: four creatures describe a related characteristic in a succinct, first-person declaration. The repeated refrain, "But look closer now…" invites further reflection and the answer is revealed.

      Pippa Curnick's bright, retro-designed cartoon illustrations are eye-catching. Each creature is featured in small, dynamic scenes that are full of movement. A Rhinoceros Beetle nimbly carries, on its back, a twig twice its size. A Hedgehog curls into a ball and naps in a pile of leaves. In each grouping, one animal from the previous spread reappears on the following page, but in a different action shot.

      Rounding out the book is a seek-and-find activity. The instructions read: "If you look close enough, it soon becomes clear … we're not as different as we first appear." Prompts are given to search the 40 animals presented and spot the ones that "have webbed feet" or "live in the ocean" or "you would NOT like to touch". An end note provides further information on the 13 animal characteristics featured in the text, from "Stripes help some animals hide in their surroundings", to "Tentacles are like very long fingers".

      Different? Same! offers a fun, interactive learning opportunity for young readers.


Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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