You and Me Both – Mahtab Narisimhan, illustrations by Lisa Cinar

     You and Me Both – Mahtab Narisimhan, illustrations by Lisa Cinar, Owlkids Books Inc., 9781771473668, 2020 

Format: Hardover (digital pdf)

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Genre: Picture Book

 What did you like about the book? I like the message that I thought this book was trying to send–two boys realize they are more alike than different. After doing some research, I learned that this book is based on the true story of two young boys (one black, one white) that get matching haircuts to fool their teacher. They figured if they had the same haircut, she would not be able to tell them apart. This book tried to capture that story, which is a wonderful concept, but I did not see the true story in this book.

Anything you did not like about the book. As mentioned before, this book is based on a true story, however, I would not know that without doing a little research. To be honest, I was not sure if the boys were really twins or not. There was a sentence in the book that said “We both want dogs, but our moms said no.” That made me think they were twins with same-sex parents. Then when they had to leave each other at the end of the story, I became really confused. Also, the skin tone of the boys in the story is very confusing–not black and white, but pink, purple, blue, etc. It was my confusion that led me to articles on the Internet about the true story behind this book. The artwork was very abstract. Not that there’s anything wrong with that for a children’s book, but it might be a little confusing to some children. At one point it looked like the two boys only had one eye.

To whom would you recommend this book? This book would be perfect for children between the ages of two and four years old. Might be too abstract for some children.

Who should buy this book? I would not recommend the purchase of this book. It is based on a really cute story and I think something could have been done with that, but I just think this story missed the mark. The confusing text and abstract illustrations threw me off–not sure what a child would think.

Where would you shelve it? Picture Books

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: May 23, 2020

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