Dennis sees the world a little differently from his classmates. When everyone comes in for show-and-tell, Dennis doesn’t say a word—he mimes. Every day, he dresses up like a mime, complete with a tall black hat, a white-painted face, and a tiny red heart pinned to his black-and-white shirt. But sometimes, being a little bit different means you’re also a little lonely. Until one day, he sadly kicks an imaginary ball . . . and a girl named Joy catches it. Yoon, no stranger to odd-couple friendships (see Penguin and Pinecone, 2012), has changed tactics, creating a story about two people who just happen to see the world in a complementary way. She uses color to great effect: the “regular kids” are in full color, but Dennis, wearing black and white, appears on a tan background, a dotted red line illustrating all of his mimed actions. When Joy—subtly dressed in a black-and-white polka-dotted dress with a red belt—appears, the two mime a tug-of-war, seesawing, and catch with that same red line. Refreshingly, this story is not about overcoming shy or unusual behavior: no one ever makes Dennis speak, and no one teases him for the way he chooses to express himself. A sweet, visually striking story of friendship and acceptance.
— Maggie Reagan, BOOKLIST STARRED REVIEW

An ordinary boy with an unusual hobby makes a new friend through extraordinary means. In a departure from her playful animal characters, Yoon turns her talent toward friendship between young children. Sporting top hat, black-and-white–striped shirt, and white stage makeup, Dennis does not express himself like most children. While his classmates speak during show and tell, he mimes instead. His communication style isolates Dennis from other children. One lonely day, though, he kicks an imaginary ball into the path of a kindred spirit and discovers the world of friendship. While the book can be taken as an introduction to mime, its message focuses on embracing each person’s uniqueness by learning how he or she communicates. For children who are just noticing how their friends are different from them, Dennis’ experience is a launchpad for discussions of individuality. Yoon’s lively illustrations will encourage young readers to mime along with Dennis. Her use of red dotted lines to depict each pantomime will allow children to fill in the blanks using their imaginations. Adults will enjoy her eye for details, including a poster of Marcel Marceau in Dennis’ wardrobe. A delightful story about the celebration of individuality and friendship. (Picture book. 3-8)
—KIRKUS REVIEW


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