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4 September 2022 LIKE by Annie Barrows and Leo Espinosa, ill., Chronicle, September 2022, 44p., ISBN: 978-1-4521-6337-6


“There is just one moon

And one golden sun

And a smile means

Friendship to ev'ryone

Though the mountains divide

And the oceans are wide

It's a small world after all”

– Robert and Richard Sherman (1963)


“It's a Small World” was created for the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair. Personally overseen by Walt Disney in support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the attraction was a huge hit. After 2 seasons there, it was shipped to Disneyland park, where it opened on May 28, 1966.

– from the Disney website


I was nine when we attended the 1964-65 World’s Fair in Queens. We had already learned the “It’s a Small World” song at school. The song and ride were designed to promote friendship by highlighting the connections we share as people. They advanced the notion that we are far more alike than we are different, despite such variations as skin colors, languages, foods, and religions.


Two generations later, LIKE by Annie Barrows does a great job of expressing a similar sentiment:


“Here is a mushroom.

Wow! We are way more like a mushroom than a swimming pool!

Mushrooms grow, like we do. They need air and water and food, like we do. They make more mushrooms like we do (okay, okay, we don’t make mushrooms, we make people). 

But mushrooms don’t have anything to say, and even if they did, they wouldn’t have a way to say it. They don’t have mouths. They don’t have brains either.

It’s not a rude thing to say. It’s the truth.

We are like a mushroom in a few ways but we are more different than we are alike.”


Accompanied by Leo Espinosa’s colorful illustrations, LIKE compares and contrasts us humans with tin cans, swimming pools, mushrooms, excavators, hyenas and, finally, one another. Annie Barrows’ amusing text does this in a logical and very entertaining fashion. It concludes that while we are not exactly alike, “We are SO MUCH alike!”


“...Even if you get embarrassed when you fall out of your chair, and I get embarrassed when the teacher calls on me, you are more like me than you are like an excavator…”


LIKE will make for a great preschool or kindergarten circle time read. Afterward, young audiences will have a great time choosing some creature or inanimate object and brainstorming the similarities and differences between them and, say, an earthworm or a school bus. 


I was going to give the book a thumbs up, but I just read in Business Insider that,


“The thumbs-up gesture is a sign of approval in most countries. However, in several countries in West Africa and the Middle East, including Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the gesture has the connotation of ‘up yours!’ It's used the same way the middle finger is in the US.” 


So let’s hold off on that.


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com






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