Review of I Don’t Care

I Don’t CareI Don’t Care
by Julie Fogliano; illus. by Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal
Preschool, Primary     Porter/Holiday    40 pp.    g
11/22     978-0-8234-4345-1     $18.99
e-book ed.  978-0-8234-5430-3    $11.99

It’s all about the body language in this enjoyable collaboration. Idle (Flora and the Flamingo, rev. 7/13; Witch Hazel, rev. 9/22) and Martinez-Neal (Alma and How She Got Her Name, rev. 5/18; Fry Bread, rev. 11/19) apply their signature styles to two children: a light-skinned child with a blond kewpie cut and a child with darker skin and a thatch of straight black hair. They stand on either side of a thick tree trunk that bisects the double-page spread, backs to each other and arms crossed. Children and tree are both rendered in soft graphite on creamy stock; the only colors are a teal oval that hovers over Idle’s kid and a similar yellow one over Martinez-Neal’s. What puts them at odds is a mystery, but Fogliano’s (My Best Friend, rev. 3/20) lilting first line will have young readers speculating: “i really don’t care what you think of my hair / or my eyes or my toes or my nose.” As the text trots along, the children first look at each other, then engage in parallel play. They share their separate snacks, smiling, as their respective ovals begin to overlap. Meanwhile, the text never breaks from its rhythm as it modulates from what the characters don’t care about to what they do, including sharing, playing fair, and each other’s feelings: “i really do care about all of that stuff / i really do care a lot.” Here the children embrace on a tire swing, together on the page with friendship now assured. Thoroughly charming notes from each illustrator close this winning outing.

From the September/October 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Vicky Smith

Vicky Smith is the children’s editor at Kirkus Reviews. She has served on a bunch of award committees and on the ALSC Board but she speaks for none of them, nor does she speak for this magazine, though it’s nice enough to print her opinions.

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