A beautifully illustrated book with endearing characters, Something Else is a personal favorite from our collection. Kathryn Cave has addressed issues of friendship, loneliness and being different with humor and sublime sensitivity.
The book starts off with an introduction to Something Else, a little blue creature, who lives a lonely life in a house on a hill. The illustration by Chris Riddell is poignant. A lonely house, perched over a hill, with a winding road tells us how far away Something Else lives from any settlement.
On a windy hill
With nothing to be friends with
Lived something else.
He knew that was what he was because
everyone said so.
Something Else wants to be accepted by others, but is constantly shunned because of how different he is to them. He doesn't play the same games or eat the same food or paint the same pictures as the others and they find this very strange.
“Sorry. You are not like us.
You’re something else.
You don’t belong.”
Then one day as a lonely looking Something Else is getting ready for bed, he hears a knock on the door.
Something was standing on the doorstep.
“Hi there, it said. Great to meet you. Can I come in?”
“Excuse me?" said Something Else
Something is a creature who is different too - unique in his own way. However, Something Else does not want to be friends with him as he believes that they are NOT the same. Something has flippers for legs and hands, a trunk for a nose and hair like a haystack on fire. Something walks into the house and sits on a supper bag with mushy green food! Little U squeals with laughter at this part of the story every time we read it. Something is an endearing character who is easy to fall in love with!
“Do I know you?" asked Something Else, puzzled.
“Know me?” The creature laughed. “Of course you do!
"Take a good look. Go on!"
Something Else looks and looks wondering what makes them similar. Only to find that Something is different and not like him at all! Concluding that Something is not like anything he has seen before, he asks him to leave.
The creature puts down its paw slowly.
"Oh,” it said.
It looked sadder and smaller.
After Something Else sends Something away he suddenly realizes that he has acted like all the other people who always sent him away. He runs after the creature and tells him, that it does not matter that they are not alike and he could stay and be his friend.
This results in a beautiful relationship built on understanding, tolerance, compromise and ultimately love and acceptance of their differences. Something Else learns a valuable lesson that being different isn't so bad. Actually, it is beautiful!
This book is great to read for children above the age of 4. 32 pages filled with beautiful images and simple language makes it a book suitable for young children. While the book talks about individuality, tolerance and caring it also sheds light on the reality of bullying. The introduction of the new creature (a boy) right at the end of the book allows for time to reflect and recount the learning from the story almost immediately.
The message of this story is strong and important for the world we inhabit these days, a message of friendship, love, tolerance and acceptance.
A treasure to read and revisit, Something Else is a book you must own!