Joe and José are all smiles from the second they first meet in their cheerful yellow classroom, invitingly equipped with easels, art supplies, and boxes full of toys and musical instruments. A female teacher warmly beams at the boys as they introduce themselves to each other. José, who presents as Latinx, and Joe, whose ethnicity is ambiguous, first decide to paint the sun and the sky. The winsome pair then propose and agree on additional ideas—such as mixing primary colors together to create new colors—before ultimately deciding to be friends. The story is sweet and bright, with the boys constantly and excitedly complimenting each other’s artwork; however, the plot lacks substance and punch. Joe speaks only in English, and José speaks only in Spanish, their words and actions exactly mirroring each other (“I have an idea! / ¡Tengo una idea!”), making it easy for young readers to build vocabulary in both languages.

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