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You Either Are or You Are Not

I’m Not ($15.99, Schwartz & Wade Books, ages 4-8) by Pam Smallcomb and illustrated by Robert Weinstock, though not new, is just such an original picture book. The title alone was enough to convince me to read on and your kids will want to as well!

Filled with wonderful descriptions and whimsical artwork, I’m Not simply IS … terrific, I mean!

To quote the narrator talking about her best friend,

“If Evelyn was a book, you’d read her all night under the covers to see what happened next. (Possibly my favorite line, but there are just so many!)

“Most of the time, I’m not.

This beautiful story so perfectly portrays two friends and the harmony of their friendship. One, Evelyn, is a wild and crazy gal who is lots of things her friend the narrator is not, and all of these are positive attributes to be admired. Does that make the narrator any less special? Of course not! At the same time there is so much that Evelyn admires about her friend who, though not as freewheeling as Evelyn, has so much going for her. While Evelyn claims to be “stinky at spelling,” her friend is not. Surprise, surprise, Evelyn’s also afraid of the dark  and lousy at baking, but can appreciate the great qualities her friend has. Together with what they bring to the relationship, there’s a nice kind of balance.  Isn’t that what enduring friendship is all about?

I adore this book with so few words but all so deftly chosen. Between the humorous illustrations and the homage to friendship, respect, admiration and mutual understanding, this book is everything a great picture book should be. And am I glad I read it? I am! I am!

I’m Not was reviewed by Ronna Mandel who dedicates this review to her colleague Debbie Glade who is everything Ronna is not and that is just how she likes it!

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