PreS"I hate you!" declares a squat red and green wienerlike animal. With spare, repetitive text, the creature criticizes the shape, tail, teeth, eyes, and fur of his larger counterpart. Interspersed with each page containing one line of abusive text are wordless illustrative spreads showing how the attribute in question actually benefits the smaller character. Ultimately, just as the benign larger animal is looking to walk away, there's a change of heart. "I like you!" states the smaller creature. While adults may question why the large animal bothers to stick around, preschoolers will quickly identify with the immediacy of the emotions that mirror their own quick-to-judge sensibilities. They will see that what lurks beneath an odd exterior may very well be a friend. Despite the simple crudeness of the animals' forms, there is a fair amount of expressiveness in their body language: the tilt of a head, the look of an eye say it all. Coupled with the unusual looking creatures are the singularly colored landscapes in green, blue, orange, or yellow, which give the book the sense of a distant land. This combination results in a powerful in-your-face statement that will either turn off readers entirely or will excite them with its emotional truth.Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI
A somewhat less didactic take on the nature of difference than that found in Bogacki's Cat & Mouse (1995).
Two creaturesone that looks like an animated pencil and the other, much larger, like a furry, four-footed tribbleengage each other. "I like you!" says the furry one. "I hate you!" replies the little one, which goes on to enumerate the things it hates: the furry one's shape (under which it hides in a rain storm); the furry one's teeth (which protect the little one from attackers); the furry one's eyes (whose bright beams illuminate the darkness). When the large creature finally retreats under this barrage, the little one implores, "Don't go away! I like you!" in typical toddler manner. The colors are bright, the edges fuzzy, and the whole thing will please those who think no picture book should be without its message.