Adventures begin, discoveries are made and questions are answered as these words follow the companions:
No two snowflakes are alike,
but not quite.
The duo soars, completes aerial loops, tries to catch falling flakes, feather-tickles a slumbering squirrel, skis on pine needles, snacks on leaves, and taunts a passing fox. Throughout their travels using spare, lilting, rhythmic verse Baker recites that nests, tracks in the snow, branches, leaves, forests, fences, roads, bridges, houses, and friends may be similar but each, in their pleasingly particular pattern, are unique. His closing two page spread against the lacy falling flakes shows two large red feathers falling, identical except for the black tip on the one.
In response to an email Keith Baker states that his digitally rendered illustrations are first sketched in pencil. Sketches are then scanned into Photoshop. He draws and adds color with a stylus and Wacom Tablet. None of his images are imported unless they have been drawn first by hand. He wishes all his pictures to have a hand-crafted look rather than the super realism or 3-D style. My thanks go to Keith Baker for responding to my request.
To this reader's eye the visuals created by Baker are as fresh and crisp as the season which they depict but there is a softness to them; a feel of collage, a careful placement. A subtle silence permeates from the pages despite the playful ventures of the two feathered friends. The choice of red for the birds, that warmth, among the cooler colors of this time of year, when Mother Nature is at rest, draws readers into the narrative. As he did in his New Times Bestseller, LMNO Peas, small bits of humor are woven into his visuals such as the birds making a pile of snowballs, calling out to the fox, ready to send one sailing through the air.
No Two Alike written and illustrated by the mind and hand of Keith Baker is a charming, refreshing, winter journey taken by two likable birds affirming our individuality with exhilaration. This is going to be a perfect title to share during these January days aloud to groups of students who I know will beg to hear it again. I will quickly comply with a smile.