Vive La Difference! Wild About Us! by Karen Beaumont
I'M WARTY WARTHOG!
CAN'T BE WHO I'M NOT.
I AM WHO I AM,
AND I'VE GOT WHAT I'VE GOT.
I HAVE TUSKS! I HAVE WARTS!
BUT I LIKE WHAT I SEE!
WE ALL ARE THE WAY
WE ARE MEANT TO BE!
I gotta be me is Warthog's theme song. Tusky and warty and lumpy and bumpy, hairy and (frankly) a bit scary, Wartie's no sleek gazelle, but after all, it takes all kinds!
Rhino's fine with wrinkled skin she's in, and Elephant knows she's supposed to have a long nose.
And who slams flamingos because they're all pink?
OR TELLS POTBELLIED PIG SHE'S TOO
PLUMP, DO YOU THINK?
Tortoise is slow, and leopard is spotty. Hippo is hippy, and Giraffe is gangling. But their many differences are what make them interesting.
WE'RE GLAD WE ARE DIFFERENT!
IT WOULD BE SUCH A SHAME
IF YOU CAME TO THE ZOO
AND WE ALL WERE THE SAME!
In her just published Wild About Us! (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015), Karen Beaumont puts her versatility with verses to good use in reminding young readers that individuality has its virtues, even in looks. You get what you get, but hey--Variety is the spice of life! Beaumont's just right rhymes set the stage for the Caldecott Award-winning artist Janet Stevens to strut her stuff, creating detailed animal characters who are true to their species while radiating humor and personality plus. Stevens' illustrations keep the pages turning with inventive book design--her critters are shown in spot-art head shots or multiple animal faces surrounding the text on the page, in double-page spreads, horizontal (for Kangaroo and her outrageously long tail and feet) and vertical (for the leggy Giraffe). Hippo boogies her generous caboose on page right, while with a simple page turn her forequarters appear and she grins proudly from the next page.
Celebrating our differences has never been more fun, and Beaumont and Stevens make their point that variety is indeed the spice (and wonder) of life. This book, like Stevens' Caldecott Honor-winning Tops & Bottoms (Caldecott Honor Book), is a hilarious storytime treat that practically reads itself.