I’m Not by Pam Smallcomb and Robert Weinstock

“I’m Not” is a delightful tale about two crocodile friends who celebrate the differences and find a fine friendship in the process. The little narrator describes her friend, Evelyn, as extraordinary, fascinating, energetic, and creative, as Evelyn tries to lift off into space in a garbage can, declares herself an apple, insists that band-aids and pearls are the latest fashion, and makes sculptures of the principal out of bubble gum. After each declaration of Evelyn’s traits, her friend proclaims in refrain, “I’m Not.” But alas, after feeling slightly discouraged that Evelyn has all the best traits, Evelyn sits down next to her friend and says, “I’m stinky at spelling.” Her friend realizes that she’s not. So goes the flip in the plot as Evelyn confesses all the things she’s not good at and realizes that her buddy is conversely not afraid of the dark, good at karate, and baking cookies. Weinstock’s simple, playful illustrations add a sense of enchantment at the end of the story as the two friends recognize the connection needed for a true-blue friendship. All the contrasts provide great language lessons as kids can talk about what they are good at as well as where friends shine, discuss the differences and similarities, and finally, what we have in common. Listing characteristics describing a great friendship helps kids articulate positive relationships.

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