I Like This, You Like That

Abrams/Appleseed. Apr. 2022. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781419750892.
PreS-Gr 1–In singsong, take-turn narration, two children explore the many opposite qualities they notice between them. Their comments range from mundane observations (“I like rockets./ I like trains./ I like tractors./ I like cranes.”) to deeper disagreements (“I like cold days./ I like hot./ I like spiders./ I do NOT.”). The immediacy of the continuing dialogue is enhanced by the text’s placement in speech bubbles; at the start of the book, multiple colors distinguish the two speakers, but the hues later match in key moments when the children begin to see eye to eye. Ashman’s writing keeps focus on personality traits and preferences, avoiding mention of physical differences (Coy depicts the two friends as a dark-skinned boy and a light-skinned girl). This choice honors the truth of young children, for whom a favorite food or game is far more likely to serve as a point of contention than race or gender. Ultimately, the two playmates decide to accept their differences, prioritizing the simple foundation of their friendship: “I like you, and you like me.” Coy’s lush, soft-textured illustrations, an even mix of vignettes and full bleeds in watercolor, aquarelle crayons, and colored pencils, surround the young companions with the verdant tones of nature as their play moves from outdoors (in sweeping parks and meadows) to indoors (where rooms are adorned with flowers and potted plants) and back again.
VERDICT This quietly beautiful celebration of childhood will appeal to a wide range of young readers and may inspire dialogue about constructive disagreement and respecting differences.

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