Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
The picture book Whoever You Are by Mem Fox, illus. by Leslie Staub, also makes the transition to board book this month. Exploring the differences and similarities between children across the globe, PW wrote, the original portrays a world where "divisions of culture, race and geography fall away in light of a global community where smiles, laughter and tears are universally understood." (Harcourt/Red Wagon, $6.95 28p ages 6 mos.-3 yrs. ISBN 9780-15-206066-4; Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
K-Gr 3Fox has composed a simple refrain to celebrate human connections in this lovely picture book. "Little one, whoever you are," she explains, there are children all over the world who may look different, live in different homes and different climates, go to different schools, and speak in different tongues but all children love, smile, laugh, and cry. Their joys, pain, and blood are the same, "whoever they are, wherever they are, all over the world." Staub's oil paintings complement the simple text. She uses bright matte colors for the landscapes and portraits, placing them in gold borders, set with jewels and molded from plaster and wood. These frames enclose the single- and double-page images and echo the rhythm of the written phrases. Within the covers of the book, the artist has created an art gallery that represents in color, shape, and texture, the full range of human experience.Barbara Kiefer, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Ages 5^-8. A lyrical text counsels children, "Little one, whoever you are, wherever you are, there are little ones just like you all over the world." Despite differences, the hearts, smiles, and tears of these other children are "just like yours." On the first page, the vibrant oil-on-gessoed-paper illustrations portray four children with different skin, eye, and hair colors but with remarkably similar facial structure. Accompanied by an adult, this group appears in miniature on almost every spread, floating through the air as they view people in a variety of traditional, almost stereotypical settings. On the last double-page spread, the children are reunited with their mothers, who, even as adults, have a resemblance that reminds readers that grown-ups, too, are the same in their humanity. First-time illustrator Staub fills the interestingly bordered pictures with images that have plenty of child appeal, and Fox's paen to diversity will make this especially suitable for classrooms. --Linda Perkins
Horn Book Review
A singsong voice speaks in vague, feel-good terms about how children around the world are different yet similar in fundamental ways. It is hard to argue with such general assertions as 'Joys are the same' and 'Pain is the same,' even though they somehow don't ring completely true. The whimsical, sunny paintings, surrounded by gold hand-carved frames, outshine the vapid text. From HORN BOOK 1997, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
A one-world, ``we-are-all-the-same-under-the-skin'' message for the very young from Fox (The Straight Line Wonder, p. 1388, etc.). ``Little one, whoever you are, wherever you are, there are little ones just like you all over the world.'' Skin color, homes, schools, lifestyles, and languages may differ (and newcomer Staub shows how, in folk-art oil paintings mounted in gilded and jeweled wooden frames), but love and laughter, pain and tears are the same for all. The faces of the little ones in Staub's paintings are as appealing as dolls', and a beatific paternal figure in a sky-blue suit printed with clouds floats through the pages with a bevy of children in his arms. An essential book that acknowledges in the simplest of terms our common humanity. (Picture book. 2-6)