Reviews for Same, Same But Different

Booklist Reviews 2011 October #1
Elliot, who lives in America, and Kailash, who lives in India, are pen pals exchanging details about their lives through the pictures they draw for each other. By sharing these illustrations and letters, they realize that they have many things in common, like going to school, having pets, and climbing trees. But some things are different, like their alphabets. The repeated phrase "same, same but different" is included in every exchange the boys share. This story, which celebrates similarities and differences, was inspired by the author's own experiences as a teacher in Nepal, where she arranged a pen-pal program with students in the U.S. The vibrant acrylic, crayon, pencil, and collage illustrations exaggerate shapes to pleasant, semicomic effect. Pair this book with Rachel Isadora's Say Hello! (2010) to help children with cultural awareness. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
In this joyful celebration of transcontinental pen-pal friendship, Kailash, from India, and Elliot, from the United States, exchange letters and drawings. The boys learn about each other's families, abodes, schools, alphabets, and ways of greeting; simple repeated text makes the story easy to read. Brilliantly colored illustrations created with collage, acrylics, crayon, pencil, and tissue paper help highlight the two worlds. Copyright 2012 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #6
Kailash, from India, and Elliot, from the United States, exchange letters and drawings in this joyful celebration of transcontinental pen-pal friendship. In Nepal and India, author-illustrator Kostecki-Shaw learned the saying "same, same but different" to compare cultures, and the boys use it throughout the book as they learn about each other's families, abodes, schools, alphabets (Kailash's is Hindi, yet not identified as such), and ways of greeting. Simple, predictable, repeated text, written in a handwritten but clear font, makes the story easy to read. Brilliantly colored illustrations created with collage, acrylics, crayon, pencil, and tissue paper help highlight the two worlds and make the book perfect for sharing with a crowd. Tiny details (stamps, painting on walls, signs on city buildings) add interest for close viewing as well. The children in the stylized art, large-headed and open-eyed, add humor to a book that could have simply been a lesson in "let's all get along." Young readers will close the book longing to have a friend from another place; for schools with global partnerships, this will be a go-to book for introducing these projects to classrooms. robin l. smith Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 July #2

Although today's kids usually communicate through texting or email, Elliot from the United States and Kailash from India use pictures and a few simple sentences to exchange information about their lives. 

Their teachers facilitate the snail mailing of pictorial letters, just as the author-illustrator did when she visited Nepal, which provided the inspiration for this book. The title, also used as a refrain throughout the book, is a popular saying in India and Nepal, heard by Kostecki-Shaw when she traveled there. Elliot and Kailash explore their similarities and differences, concluding that their lives are "Different, different but the SAME!" The engaging childlike acrylic paintings with crayon, pencil, tissue paper and other collage elements show the busy crowded American streets of Elliot's city, the traditional buildings of Kailash's riverside village, the taxis and buses in the States and the taxis and camel-pulled carts in India. The English alphabet is reproduced on wide-ruled notebook paper and the Hindi alphabet (unfortunately unidentified) on a small slate, and both typical American pets (dog and fish) and a whole farmyard of Indian animals appear. Both kids live unusually low-tech lives (no computers or cell phones in sight), but they each enjoy learning about their pen pal's world.

Purposeful, but saved from didacticism by the sheer exuberance of the illustrations; the accessible text introduces the idea of traditional two-way communication and demonstrates just how small our world can be. (Picture book. 5-7) 

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 July #2

The theme of commonalities among the world's children is a familiar one, so readers aren't likely to be surprised that a city-dwelling American boy and his pen pal in rural India have a lot in common, even if those similarities are embodied in different ways. But Kostecki-Shaw (My Travelin' Eye) makes her tribute to brotherhood sing in a way that feels fresh and inviting. Both of her heroes are anchored by warm, caring home lives: for Elliot, that means living with his parents and baby sister in a brick row house, while Kailash shares a farm with 23 members of his extended family "and our animals." Elliot uses art to fuel his imagination, while Kailash uses yoga. "Same, same but different" is Kostecki-Shaw's refrain, but what keeps it from being saccharine or pedestrian are her terrific naïf, mixed-media pictures. Working in exuberantly detailed spreads with a playful sense of proportion and perspective, she immerses readers in her heroes' worlds, showing them as confident navigators of even the busiest landscapes. On every page, readers will sense they're in the company of a generous, open-minded talent. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 August

Gr 1-2--While traveling in Southeast Asia, the author learned the popular saying that inspired this charming story of friendship and universal connections. In an American city, Elliott paints a picture of his world as part of a school project. His teacher mails it "across the oceans" to Kailash, who soon replies with his own drawing. Elliott lives in a city where tall buildings hide the sun, and cars and taxis crowd the roads. Kailash is growing up near a river in a village where "peacocks dance under trees shaped like umbrellas." Although their worlds seem different, the boys are not. They discover that they both like animals, enjoy climbing trees, and ride the bus to school. The correspondents compare their cultures and eventually they decide that their worlds aren't so different after all. The imaginative multimedia illustrations, drawn in an animated, childlike style, add vibrant color and rich details to the story. Kostecki-Shaw presents a meaningful message of inclusivity in this engaging title. Like Elliott and Kailash, young readers will conclude that children from other cultures are "different, different but the SAME!"--Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA

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