I'm Not.

What It Is

This new book is a story narrated by a young crocodile. Though the narrator isn’t named, we learn a lot about her, like the fact that she’s shy, and her best friend, Evelyn, is her exact opposite — or so it seems. Evelyn is on top of the latest fashion trends and great at nearly everything. One day, however, Evelyn confides in her friend that she’s “stinky” at spelling. The narrator perks up because she is very good at spelling! And, it turns out, our narrator is good at a bunch of things that Evelyn is not—such as karate and baking. As a result of their differences, the two crocodiles discover a deeper bond in their friendship and turn the phrase “I’m Not.” into “I AM.”

Why It’s Fun

The publisher calls the book “refreshingly simple,” which is the perfect description. Pam Smallcomb cleverly uses repetition of the phrase “I’m Not.” (purposeful punctuation included) to communicate the narrator’s frustration and exasperation with being “ordinary.” The moment the narrator realizes that she does have special talents is an exciting turning point and allows the transition to the empowering phrase “I AM!” Robert Weinstock’s illustrations help give the story a tone that is both comedic and touching ... a quality that can make a picture book a classic.

Who’s Going To Love It

What’s great about this book is that any kid can relate to the story whether they are a shy child or more outgoing like Evelyn. Parents will appreciate the message that while a child may not excel in one area, he or she may discover talents elsewhere. What makes Smallcomb’s story so compelling is the message that just because someone may be a “super star” in one sport or subject, those who don’t share their talents or interests are not inferior—and have other strengths that may be worth discovering—something that’s important as parents help their children develop strong character. Though the text is very simple, this book is appropriate for kids in the 4-8 year old range, especially as they may begin to break away from the pack in academics, sports or the arts. This touching story is a fantastic read aloud selection for the class or at home.

Reading Time

About 2-3 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

10 out of 10

Book Information

I’m Not.
By: Pam Smallcomb, Illustrated by Robert Weinstock
Published by: Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House (2010)
Approximate retail price: $17.99
Publisher’s recommended ages: 4 - 8

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