Title: No Two Alike
Author: Keith Baker
Illustrator: Keith Baker
Publisher: Beach Lane Books, 2011
Audience: 3 and up
Summary: In a winter landscape of gently falling snow, two small birds explore the world as they fly and play. Each snowflake, nest, leaf, tree, fence, road, animal, they observe, is unique. And though the birds look very much alike, they are different too. While making this profound observation the two birds do loop-the-loops, ski using pine needles, stockpile snowballs to use against a fox, knock snow off fence tops, teeter on the edge of a branch.
Literary elements at work in the story: The rhymes of the text will be easily completed by children by the third reading-and there will be a third reading and more. The digitally rendered pictures are soft, clear, page-filling, perfect for creating a snowy world. They invite children to examine the small differences in animals and objects.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? Stereotypes don’t affect a book about the uniqueness of each individual plant and animal.
Theological Conversation Partners: The psalmist sings, “What variety you have created, arranging everything so wisely! 104:24 JB. “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Ps 139:14, NRSV. In the hymn of creation, Gen. 1 the phrase recurs, “God saw everything and it was good.” In Luke 12:6 Jesus reminds us that no sparrow is forgotten by God. Scripture praises a creating, creative God who knows humans and creatures in a personal and intimate way. No Two Alike is a preschool statement of this theological reality. In the emphasis on establishing self-esteem, the Christian bases this esteem in our infinite worth to God. By introducing objects produced by humans-bridges, fences, roads-the point is somewhat muddied. Still we can rejoice in the variety that humans imagine and make.
Faith Questions and activities:
- A magnifying glass will be useful.
- Examine snowflakes on the inside covers of the book to see if you can find any alike.
- Repeat for nests, homes, leaves, etc. Additional objects such as flowers, pine cones, leaves, rocks may be examined.
- Each friend is different too. Hair color, eyes, height may be compared.
- Finger prints could be examined by older children.
- Write a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s great love that makes each of us unique. This word may need to be defined. Some related words may be helpful: special, different, one and only.
This review was written by regular contributor Virginia Thomas.