Review Blog

Jul 02 2018

Along came a different by Tom McLaughlin

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408888926
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Difference, Rules, Shapes. The Red shapes loved being red. They loved wearing red hats, eating red apples and sang red songs. But along cam some Yellow shapes. They loved being yellow, eating yellow bananas, yellow books and yellow cars. But the two groups found fault with each other, forcing each other to make areas for themselves separate from each other. But then along came another different, this time, a Blue shape. The Blue shapes loved their blue guitars and blow ties, but ran foul of the other two shapes, the red and the yellow.
The three groups then separated themselves from each other, making rules about what they could and could not do.
By now readers and listeners will have realised that the story is telling us about how we separate ourselves from others, making rules and regulations to further restrict interaction. Younger readers will be able to see that rules often divide, but be heartened when a new group comes along in the book, overturning all the rules made by the first three groups.
The new group is quite different, reflecting all the colours that have gone before, and talking to the three shapes, encouraging interaction, communication and friendship. Children will easily see that discussion and communication is better than making rules which only serve to divide. Being different does not mean that we have to make rules to divide us from our friends.
Fran Knight

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