June 07, 2017

Different? Same?

Written by Heather Tekavec
Illustrated by Pippa Curnick
Kids Can Press
32 pp.
Ages 2-6
May 2017

Maybe it's not really a book genre but I would call Different? Same? an interactive non-fiction book.  It's the kind of book that encourages young children to voice their observations in answer to the simple questions "How are these animals different?" and "How are these animals the same?"  And it's a lovely way of emphasizing the commonalities of animals while still appreciating the diversity of species that populate our world.
From Different? Same! 
by Heather Tekavec
 illus. by Pippa Curnick
For each double-spread, a series of animals are differentiated by their motility, habitat, textures, colours, sounds and other physical and behavioural attributes.  But a final statement at the bottom right corner instructs the reader to "But look closer now..." before sharing the similarity of note for that set of animals.

A final double spread illustration invites readers to seek other similarities, such as spots and webbed feet amongst the forty animals–insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals–depicted in the artwork.  It becomes a find and seek adventure for children, whether they read the book themselves or not. And, if they want to learn a little more, a note at the conclusion called "Why Animals Have the Characteristics They Do" clarifies the functionality of the characteristics noted, turning Different? Same? into a more serious science book for older readers.
From Different? Same! 
by Heather Tekavec 
illus. by Pippa Curnick
Heather Tekavec has published ten previous children's volumes including the popular Stop, Thief! (Kids Can Press, 2014) but this is her first non-fiction book. Still she retains her lively writing by turning Different? Same? away from pure information text and into a book of discovery.  UK illustrator Pippa Curnick furthers that intent with her amusing animals from all levels of the classification hierarchy.  All and all, Different? Same? shows us how distinct the animals in the world are while celebrating common ground, a lesson we should all accept and appreciate in our own world.

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