Jedidah Morley (text), Karen Erasmus (illus.) You’re Different, Jemima, Empowering Resources, 20 Feb 2016, 36pp., $17.00 (pbk), ISBN 9780994501028
You’re Different, Jemima is a cheerful story of the irrepressible Jemima whose imagination and exuberance are repressed by her teacher’s dedication to conformity and uniformity. One day a new teacher is sitting on the desk at the front of the class, a teacher who helps Jemima value her differences.
The characters in this story are brought to life by Erasmus’ watercolour and pencil-sketched illustrations. Jemima’s mess of orange hair and round features are contrasted with Mrs Smith’s sharp and dowdy features. When Mrs Chuckles takes over the class, the pages become vibrant and colourful.
You’re Different, Jemima is based on the author’s experience at school and is a story about valuing the creative, free spirit and encouraging children to shine. It is also a cautionary tale about how not to teach. Children 4-8 will recognise Jemima’s desire to please in spite of herself and the freedom that comes from being accepted.
Reviewed by Debra Tidball