PreS—Two seemingly identical red birds flit through the snow, conveying a simple yet significant message: everything—and everyone—is unique. The combination of Baker's soothing, rhythmic cadence and his gentle, soft-hued illustrations result in a surprisingly warm winter wonderland.
With spare verse and a quiet, winter landscape, Baker (LMNO Peas) presents an ode to uniqueness, particularly as it pertains to nature. His artwork invites readers to observe the world closely, to notice that “No two snowflakes are alike,/ almost, almost.../ but not quite.” Two playful red birds are the focal point of each pale spread as they investigate things that are not quite the same: “No two nests,/ so soft and round,/ no two tracks upon the ground./ No two branches, no two leaves,/ no two forests, full of trees.” Displaying both mischief and curiosity, the birds ski on fallen pine needles, nibble leaves to make them resemble snowflakes, aim snowballs at a distant fox, knock snow from fence posts, and eventually ask, “Are we the same—just alike?” In answer, the ending illustrations show two red feathers, one tipped in black, rocking in a snowy blue sky: “Almost, almost.../ but not quite.” Baker’s digital artwork conveys a sense of painterly softness and warmth, and children should appreciate the gentle self-esteem boost that comes with the reassurance that they are one of a kind. Ages 3–7. (Nov.)
"The engaging, digitally rendered avian characters stand out against the wintry landscape, and their many antics as they navigate their surroundings will sustain readers’ interest. They loop-the-loop through the falling snow, tightrope walk on branches, ski on twigs, and knock snow off fence posts. Children will readily join in the reading to supply each ending rhyme."
School Library Journal, September 2011
"With spare verse and a quiet, winter landscape, Baker (LMNO Peas) presents an ode to uniqueness, particularly as it pertains to nature.... Baker’s digital artwork conveys a sense of painterly softness and warmth, and children should appreciate the gentle self-esteem boost that comes with the reassurance that they are one of a kind."
Publishers Weekly, October 3, 2011
*"The poetry and pictures here express the idea of individuality with an irrepressible, childlike sense of joy. Accessible to very young children, the verse reads aloud beautifully, with just a phrase or two on each spread. Created with subdued colors and strong composition, the double-page digital illustrations create a powerful sense of place and season while offering details for young children to notice and talk about. Baker’s seamless combination of well-worded rhymes, evocative landscapes, and playful protagonists make this a standout title for reading aloud, especially in winter."
Booklist, November 1, 2011, *STAR
"A cheerful celebration of individuality, with clever rhymes and engaging art sure to appeal to little ones."
San Francisco Chronicle, December 25, 2011
"In a thoughtfully structured picture book, two little red birds explore a snowy landscape, while a rhyming text draws listeners into looking carefully at the pictures to find similarities and differences between things.... Baker includes many funny scenes, with the mischievous birds stockpiling snowballs as a fox walks warily by in one spread and fishing with berry-bait in another."
The Horn Book Magazine, January/February 2012
“Spare, rhymed couplets, quiet and gentle, tell the story, while the digitally produced artwork, bright and cheerful, takes off winter's chill….This lovely testimony to how special and unique each of us is will enhance a preschooler's self-esteem.”
—The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), March 4, 2012
A sadly lackluster paean to the premise that "no two snowflakes are alike, / almost, almost… / but not quite." Beginning with snowflakes, Baker then branches out to celebrate the uniqueness of other things, some found in nature, some manmade--nests, branches, leaves and forests. "No two fences, long and low, / no two roads--where do they go? / No two bridges, wood or stone, / no two houses-- / anyone home?" His ultimate message, arrived at on almost the final page, is that every living thing is one of a kind. While it is certainly an important message, the very young may not make the leap from the animals and things that populate the book to humans, which make no appearance. Baker's digital illustrations fill the spreads with simple shapes and soft, woodsy colors. The two red birds (rather like crestless cardinals) that fly through this wintry wonderland steal the show. Their expressions are adorable, their antics endearing and rather anthropomorphic--one skis, while the other tries to pelt a fox with snowballs. But they may not be enough to carry the flat text and lack of a story line. Indeed, the book depends on the rhymes and the cute birds to keep the pages turning. A worthwhile message that just doesn't quite fly. (Picture book. 3-5)