I'm Not.

I'm Not.

by Pam Smallcomb, Robert Weinstock
     
 

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Evelyn is lots of things. Circus performer. Antarctic explorer. I'm not.

Here is the perfect book for children who feel like their outgoing friend is oh-so-talented . . . and they're not. Our shy narrator lists all the things that her best friend, Evelyn, is good at—from jumping on the bed to roller skating really fast. Luckily, Evelyn points

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Overview

Evelyn is lots of things. Circus performer. Antarctic explorer. I'm not.

Here is the perfect book for children who feel like their outgoing friend is oh-so-talented . . . and they're not. Our shy narrator lists all the things that her best friend, Evelyn, is good at—from jumping on the bed to roller skating really fast. Luckily, Evelyn points out what makes her so special: she's a one-of-a-kind true blue best friend. Robert Weinstock's hilarious illustrations wonderfully complement Pam Smallcomb's simple text, perfect for young children. This sweet depiction of friendship shows—in a completely fresh, original way—that everyone is special.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Novelist Smallcomb's first picture book compares two alligatorlike creatures who are very different but still "true-blue friend." "If Evelyn was a book, you'd read her all night under the covers to see what happened next," admits the timid narrator. Boisterous Evelyn repaints the narrator's bedroom ("She's a wonderful decorator. I'm not"), races around on roller skates, and is imaginative, willful, and bold—everything her friend is not. Smallcomb's spare text lets Weinstock (Can You Dig It?) run wild, as when Evelyn dresses up as the "Queen of England," wearing an orange rubber glove crown and carrying a toilet-plunger scepter. Just when it seems that the narrator is doomed to be eternally hapless, Smallcomb (the Trimoni Twins books) reveals that her areas of expertise (like karate and courage in the dark) are Evelyn's weaknesses. When Evelyn (obliviously) longs for a "friend who is always by her side," the narrator, her confidence restored, answers, "I AM! I AM! I AM!" The theme of respect for diverse talents and personalities comes through without a trace of didacticism in this entertaining, very funny story. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
From the Publisher

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2010

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Our young narrator and her friend Evelyn are lizard- or dinosaur-like cartoon characters, complete with hair bow and bracelets. Our narrator notes all the things the extraordinary, mysterious, daring, fashion-conscious Evelyn is that she is not. For example, the visiting Evelyn redecorates her room, even her pet worm. In school Evelyn ends up in the principal's office for making portraits of a teacher and the principal from chocolate milk and bubble gum. Evelyn practices being a host of things that "I'm not," from circus performer to Queen of England. On the other hand, Evelyn is "stinky at spelling," "crummy at karate," scared of the dark, and the "worst at making cookies." And "I'm not." She is, however, just what Evelyn needs most: "a true-blue friend." Vignettes and full-page illustrations, "...not rendered in watercolor or woodcut... but...super fun to make anyway!" display the comic actions of the many amusing characters. The absurd props like the mound of used bubble gum or the toilet plunger should add to the fun. But underneath is a fine lesson on the nature of friendship. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews

A timid, brown gator wearing a pink bow recounts all the things that her friend Evelyn, a bouncy, green gator, is where she is not: decorator, circus performer, explorer and snappy dresser (Evelyn wears Band-Aids with pearls!). "If Evelyn was a book, you'd read her all night under the covers to see what happened next." Halfway through the story, their roles are reversed when the shy narrator claims all the things she can do and Evelyn can't. The gator colors of brown and green cleverly contrasts their differences. The title page and bio blurbs typify the playfulness: "Not drawn by Pam Smallcomb; not written by Robert Weinstock." These and other small details in the illustrations and the teeny print in Evelyn's speech balloons make this hilarious. The droll artwork is "not rendered in watercolor or woodcut" but is subtle, terrific fun with James Marshall–like charm. This is not a stale but a fresh take on friendship/reassurance stories and is, for sure, not boring.(Picture book. 4-8)

School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—An unnamed alligator describes her friend. Evelyn is boisterous and zany; "I'm not," admits the young narrator. At first, the comparisons imply that Evelyn is difficult to be around; they move on to extolling the virtues of her creativity. The tables turn when Evelyn bemoans her own shortcomings ("I'm crummy at karate.... I'm scared of the dark.") and her friend can say proudly "I'm not." As a grand finale, Evelyn explains her need for a true-blue best friend, to which her companion responds, "I AM!" More an ode to individuality and friendship than a plot-driven narrative, this philosophical book may find more fans among adults than children. The subtle changes of the meaning behind the words "I'm not" may be lost on some readers, and the flow of the pattern is frequently disrupted by characters' comments in cartoon bubbles. The cartoon-style illustrations have a James Marshall look to them, right down to the color palette, yet the simplicity and real child-centric interactions that Marshall achieved so masterfully are missing here. In this book, these girls are friends because the author says so, and that's all. There are many details to enjoy, and humor abounds in the visuals and the cartoon-bubble commentary. The text can sometimes get a bit lost among all the goings-on; between that and the difficult flow of the story, the book may work best for individual rather than group reading. An additional purchase where books on friendship or self-esteem are in high demand.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375861154
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
12/28/2010
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

PAM SMALLCOMB grew up in the Mojave desert of Southern California. This gave her a great appreciation for two things: air conditioning and the color green. Her books include The Trimoni Twins and the Shrunken Treasure, The Trimoni Twins and the Changing Coin, The Last Burp of Mac McGerp, and Camp Buccaneer. Pam now lives in Maryland with her husband and four children. Visit her at PamSmallcomb.com.

ROBERT WEINSTOCK attended Stanford University and California College of Arts & Crafts. He is the author of Food Hates You, Too and Other Poems, Giant Meatball, Gordimer Byrd's Reminder, and Can You Dig It? He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, the film critic for Slate.com, and his young daughter. Visit him at CallMeBob.com.

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