Hello, friends! Our book today is I Don’t Care, written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal, a tale of friendship transcending differences.
At first, the two unnamed child characters are clear that they don’t much care what the other thinks of their appearance. They don’t care what the other thinks of their talents or families either. And they don’t care what the other looks like, or how they draw a cow, or how big or small their house is. As the pair visibly soften their stances and expressions to each other, the reader is clued in: they don’t care about these surface things, but instead care about how the other thinks, feels, and acts. They only care about their friendship, and how to be better friends to each other; about these things, they care a lot.
Sweet and heartfelt, if a little routine. Fogliano’s rhyming text is metered perfectly and reads like a dream, and the concept of having real-life besties Idle and Martinez-Neal combining their illustration styles is inspired. Yet looking at the extremely similar design of the protagonists – both have chin-length straight hair, the same pale skintone, round faces, button noses, and identical body shapes – one can’t help but see the missed opportunities to further explore the concept of a diverse and supportive friendship, as well as the concept of two separate art styles coming together. Overall, the collab between these three kidlit rockstars has a great message and is perfectly enjoyable, but it feels like it could have been more. Soft artwork and spare colors work well with the narrative tone, the length is great for a storytime, and JJ and I enjoyed it. Absolutely worth a look, and Baby Bookworm approved.
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)