Book Reviews

Book Review: What’s the Difference? (Strack/Plantevin)

What’s the difference between a clementine and a tangerine? Jeans and denim? A crocodile and an alligator? Asian and African elephants? A peach and a nectarine? A stalactite and a stalagmite? The Netherlands and Holland? Great Britain and England? Bacteria and a virus? Butter and margarine?

There are many things in life that are similar. Too similar. We know there’s a difference, until we have to explain it. Then we think that maybe there really isn’t a difference after all (like with the fruit mentioned above, I have no idea what the differences are). In this clever book, author Emma Strack gives us facts about two very similar objects on a two-page spread and what the differences are. On the top of the first page of the spread is a paragraph about the two objects, sometimes explaining the difference. On the bottom are a few small circular pictures with facts about the objects. On the top of the second page, a list of facts about the two objects is given.


For example, mandarins have been cultivated for over 3,000 years in the Far East. Clementines were first grown in the 1800’s in Algeria, and it is actually a cross between the mandarine and the sweet orange. Clementines have no seeds and are very juicy. Mandarines have a very thin peel. Norwegians eat so many clementines each Christmas season. Or is it mandarines?


Peaches and nectarines are the same species. Peaches, which can range in hue from pink and pale yellow to creamy white and deep red, have a soft, fuzzy skin, whereas nectarines have smooth, shiny skin (32). China produces over 10 million tons of these two fruit per year, and they first cultivated them 7,500 years ago. the main difference seems to be the outside skin and that they provide (mostly) different vitamins.

The illustrations are nice to look at, and all of the colors really make the book fun to read (though it has its downfalls, see the next paragraph).

The Spoiled Milk

Sometimes it is difficult to see the picture clearly because the color of the item doesn’t work well with the background color: such as with the borsalino hat (69). Or it can be difficult to read the text with the background color, like with the Netherlands (54), the terrace (92), presbyopia, which is a little ironic since it deals with sight (77), the borsalino hat again (69), and others. Not all are bad. Just make sure you have plenty of light when you read those pages.


This will be a really great book for kids, and one that is both fun and that will teach them fun facts that they can share with their friends. With 42 pairs, there is plenty for them to read and memorize.


  • Author: Emma Strack
  • Illustrator: Guillaume Plantevin
  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Hardcover: 98 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (July 10, 2018)

Buy it on Amazon or from Chronicle Books!

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: I receive a percentage of revenue if you buy from Amazon on my blog (at no cost to you). 

Disclosure: I received this book free from Chronicle Books. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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