Chilean author/illustrator Valdivia’s charming, low-key explanation of life in different hemispheres draws attention to the simple fact that many people live below the equator. “The ones up above live just like the ones down below,” Valdivia writes. On the sand-colored page, divided by a red equatorial line (a design element that runs through the entire book), a group of ragdoll-like people with plaid shirts, rosy cheeks, and vintage swimwear stands waiting patiently. Turn the page and the same group appears upside-down below the line, like a mirror reflection. “When spring makes its entrance in one place,” the author later writes, “fall pushes its way into the other.” Up above, a woman pushes a baby in a pram toward a tree in full leaf; down below, the tree’s leaves have fallen. More differences and similarities are catalogued, after which Valdivia concludes, “They can all look at the world the other way around.” It’s a gentle and well-designed introduction to recognizing different points of view—and a reminder that people are the same wherever they live. Ages 4–6. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
"A gentle and well-designed introduction to recognizing different points of view - and a reminder that people are the same wherever they live."
~ Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW, May 28, 2012
"A visually stunning, gently restrained picture book that should be high up on readers' lists."
~ Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW, July 15, 2012
"A great story-starter for many disciplines. It can be used to introduce little ones to the concept of social studies, geography, and even the curious law of gravity."
~ Picture Book Depot, September 6, 2012
"Broader lessons are left to be intuited, something to ponder over juice box and Goldfish. Valdivia's deceptively simple illustrations also merit further exploration."
~ Bruce Handy , The New York Times, August 27, 2012
"In the world, there are different kinds of people. Some live up above and some live down below." — from the book
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
What does it feel like to be different? In this lovely story, Paloma Valdivia explores what it feels like to live in different parts of the world. He begins with the line, "In the world, there are different kinds of people" and shows young readers images of people living up above and down below. With the accompanying illustrations, young readers will see (in a literal way) what it means to live up above and down below. No matter where people live, they have the same needs, and it is important to realize that people aren't as different as they appear on the surface. Whether people live up above or down below, they experience the weather, the seasons, and the trials of everyday life. Valdivia takes young readers into these scenes, and it is particularly amusing to see that the people who live down below appear upside down in the illustrations. Young readers will enjoy this enjoyable and engaging text accompanied by a simple story that is skillfully translated by Susan Ouriou. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—In this laconic, minimally illustrated book, Valdivia explores the idea that while people of the northern and southern hemispheres might think of the other as different, in fact, they are quite similar. Their differences depend entirely on one's point of view-after all, what's "down below" to some is "up above" to others. The seasons are the only real disparity: "when spring makes its entrance in one place, fall pushes its way into the other." To illustrate the divide, a red line separates top and bottom halves of the beige spreads. Valdivia's abstractly stylized people with notably large red triangles for noses populate the top half standing right side up, and the bottom half upside down…unless you turn the book upside down, too. Their perceived peculiarities are whimsical and funny-an "upside-down" boy has a comically oversize mustache, an "upside down" woman sports bunny ears, a right side up man walks a fish next to a girl with antlers. This cleverly designed book ends with the people standing on their heads, underscoring the message that "they can all look at the world the other way around"- a prompt to embrace everybody's similarities and differences, and to look at the world from another's perspective.—Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, formerly at Chappaqua Library, NY
A small book about a big idea. Chilean author/illustrator Valdivia highlights the notion that although different kinds of people live in different places around the world, we share many things in common. The title subtly references the Earth's northern and southern hemispheres, launching readers into a picture book with spreads characterized by a line bisecting each page into upper and lower halves. This graceful attention to design contributes to the great success of this title, in which stylized characters populate both realms. Straightforward, lyrical text describes opposing seasons and other ways in which life in both places differs and coincides. Design and illustration take center stage in this book's achievement, with eye-catching compositions that revel in muted tones, employing well-placed spots of blues and greens to highlight various details. The concluding line, "They can all look at the world the other way around," gently underscores the book's central message about the importance of considering other perspectives and seeing the common ground we share. A visually stunning, gently restrained picture book that should be high up on readers' lists. (Picture book. 4-8)