A little bit different

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

Claire Alexander (2019). Allen & Unwin, NZ

A Little Bit Different has been flipped through by visitors at my work desk and my home, and the reaction is always the same. The main characters, the ‘Ploofers’, are very adorable and receive a round of cute exclamations each time. This book is intended as a funny and touching story about accepting and celebrating what makes each of us different and special.

Though the book is simplistic, it works as a great conversation starter for its intended preschool-aged readers. The use of humour (and the wayward fart at the end) will definitely appeal to this younger audience.

Some published reviews suggest the messaging doesn’t quite encourage diversity, as when the Ploofers all stop squirting black clouds and switch to all squirting coloured ones – prompting the question whether this is really encouraging differences, or blindly following whatever the rest of the group is doing. I checked this out with my 10-year-old son and he disagreed, pointing out that each Ploofer had its own individual colour (or talent). I think the standout in this story is the Ploofer who stands up for the main colourful character, who demonstrates the potential power of one person to spark a possible change in the attitude of everyone else. He plays an Upstander and cheerleader role wrapped up in one.

The Mental Health Foundation’s Information Service brings you reviews this Pink Shirt Day on books with bullying prevention themes.

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