Sunday, January 27, 2019

Review - Neither

by Airlie Anderson
Date: 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

In this colorful and touching story that celebrates what makes each of us unique, a little creature that's not quite a bird and not quite a bunny--it's "neither"--searches for a place to fit in.

In the Land of This and That, there are only two kinds: blue bunnies and yellow birds. But one day a funny green egg hatches, and a little creature that's not quite a bird and not quite a bunny pops out. It's neither!

Neither tries hard to fit in, but its bird legs aren't good for jumping like the other bunnies, and its fluffy tail isn't good for flapping like the other birds. It sets out to find a new home and discovers a very different place, one with endless colors and shapes and creatures of all kinds. But when a blue bunny and a yellow bird with some hidden differences of their own arrive, it's up to Neither to decide if they are welcome in the Land of All.

This colorful, simple, and touching story promotes diversity and offers a valuable lesson to the youngest of audiences: it is our differences that unite us.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a simple little picture book with an important message. It's timely, showing children that being inclusive is a good thing.

When a little half-bird/half-bunny creature is born in the Land of This and That, they immediately identify themselves as Both. But the other birds and bunnies tell them that they can't be Both, so they must be Neither. Neither tries to play games with the others, but they can't play the bunny games (due to their bird traits) and they can't play the bird games (due to their bunny traits). Eventually the other birds and bunnies tell Neither they should go Somewhere Else. So Neither leaves and eventually ends up in the Land of All, where there are all sorts of diverse kinds of creatures, all playing happily together. They feel welcome there, because everybody is welcome there. A bird and a bunny with little differences of their own eventually show up in the Land of All because they don't fit in with the others of their kind. But they're welcome there, too.

I like the parallel between the fanciful creatures in the story and the diversity in our own world. The differences could be skin colour, religion, ability, or gender, and this book sends a strong message that it's better (and more fun) to be inclusive of everyone, not just those who are like you. The illustrations are simple, but effective (and awfully cute; I especially liked looking at the pictures of all the creative creatures in the Land of All).

This is a lovely picture book that I would definitely recommend, especially in today's climate of distrust and suspicion of those who might not be exactly the same as us. It's never too early to learn to accept and embrace differences.

Quotable moment:

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.83 out of 5

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