Something (Book Review)

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher. Opinions expressed are my own.

Scripture Connection

The picture book includes an epigraph:

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Matt. 25:35-36

Spiritual Themes

In this sweet little book, children are motivated toward acts of compassion, with the idea being that “one small thing can make a difference.”

I really like that the author approached the theme of compassion from this angle, which is consistent with the Scriptural idea of stewardship. We see in the parables and in Jesus’ own words that if we are faithful in little, we will be faithful in much. Additionally, we see God “remembering”

What I Liked

This is a companion to Creeh’s excellent picture book, Nothing, which I had the opportunity to review last year. I really liked that the book’s emphasis was on compassion, not morality. Why is this even a concern for me? The Scripture passage is drawn from one that, for me, is one of the scarier passages in Scripture. At church, I grew up hearing about the separation of the sheep from the goats, and this preaching would leave me with a sense of guilt and dread. Rather than being motivated towards compassion, my guilt left me fumbling after good deeds. What I’ve found, though, is that guilt and compassion are on opposite sides of the spectrum. When I feel guilty, I’m acting in fear and not in love, whereas the Bible clearly tells us that “there is no fear in love” (1 John 4:18). For these reasons, I was so glad to see that the book draws readers into an experience of love, not fear.


Cute rhymes offer readers various practical suggestions for making a difference in someone else’s life. I really liked the repeated, memorable clause,

If there’s something that you notice,

there is something you can do.

Keep your KINDNESS RADAR working–

maybe something

starts with you!

Natalee Creech

This is a motivating directive for children, and the phrase “kindness radar” even makes compassion sound like a bit of a super power (in terms of connotation; there is no “superhero” angle, in the text). Additionally, I really appreciate the first person perspective of the text. Rather than narrating with ways that “you” can help, much of the text uses the “I” pronoun, as it offers examples of the “something you can do.”

The writing does a good job of offering practical ways that children can assist with needs that they are likely to encounter in everyday life. Plus, there are some fun and important lines about how you don’t need to be a grown-up (or “even drive a car!” to lend a hand to someone).


The illustrations are darlingly whimsical, from penguins slipping and sliding down a hill to kittens floating in soap bubbles. What really stands out to me, about Pablo Pino’s work here, is that the illustrations really serve to tell their own story. For instance, in the case of the penguins, there is not a word about penguins. However, we see one spread with a boy slipping off a sled, and the next spread with another boy befriending him. This is at the beginning of the book, where compassion is being discussed, and even sledding is not mentioned!

In the scene with a car wash, we see a little brother, decked out in protective firemen gear, mischievously aiming a high-pressured hose at his sud-soaked siblings (this is the page about how you DON’T have to drive a car to be helpful). The next page features a little girl helping an elderly neighbor to water his plants. The neighbor holds a pink umbrella to avoid getting splashed, as the little girl props herself against a tree to aim for a high plant.

All in all, the pictures not only bring the text to life, but inhabit a life of their own. I often praise illustrations, but these are honestly some of the best that I’ve seen. I think it is so cool how author and illustrator worked together and how Pino adapted even minor textual cues into his artwork, while also creating a world of his own, beyond the language of the book.

Recommendation Status

Highly recommended for children and adults who appreciate zany artwork, Something is a sweet, imaginative picture book about how we can make a difference, even if we’re little. I’m so glad that this book is so encouraging and compassion-oriented! Plus, the author-illustrator cooperation is stellar.

Published by Stephaniesninthsuitcase

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

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