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Four Friends Together

Overview

Fidgety little listeners will laugh at this lighthearted tribute to story time—and friendship.

It’s story time, and Seymour the sheep, Rachel the rabbit, and Florentina, the great big flowery bear, are waiting for Mary Clare to wake up and read to them. But first they need a place for Florentina to sit, and they have to find a way for everyone to see the pictures. Sue Heap’s simple text and childlike illustrations follow the humorous squirming and shifting of four friends who ...

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Overview

Fidgety little listeners will laugh at this lighthearted tribute to story time—and friendship.

It’s story time, and Seymour the sheep, Rachel the rabbit, and Florentina, the great big flowery bear, are waiting for Mary Clare to wake up and read to them. But first they need a place for Florentina to sit, and they have to find a way for everyone to see the pictures. Sue Heap’s simple text and childlike illustrations follow the humorous squirming and shifting of four friends who finally settle in for what they love best - a really good story enjoyed together.

Mary Clare reads a story to her animal friends.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Seymour the sheep, dressed in stripes, Rachel the polka-dotted rabbit and Florentina the bear, named for the pattern of flowers in her fur, gather for storytime. But first Mary Clare, the girl who reads to them, must wake up. And then everyone must get settled just so; each has his or her own chair (which visually correlates to the characters: Seymour sits in a striped chair; Rachel in one with polka-dots). With economic, almost reportorial prose, Heap (Cowboy Baby) captures how children experience conflicting needs and attempt to get what they want. If Mary Clare moves her chair closer to Seymour's so he can see the book's pictures, Rachel can't see. If the girl scoots over to make Rachel happy, Florentina becomes upset: "I'm lonely over here," says the giant flowered bear, sitting by herself in the only chair that will accommodate her girth. Distinct solid bands of color (indicating floor and wall) create a stillness to Heap's soft-toned acrylic paintings-the plane of action never varies, and she indicates the buddies' changing expressions with just a hint of pencil line. And yet, the emotions on the page churn with a palpable intensity-when Florentina's eyebrows arch upward and she gathers her hulking arms close to her body, readers will instantly understand the depth of her isolation and despair. Luckily, it's a temporary state; this enchanting tale has a happy ending. Ages 2-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The author has said that the only thing better than a good book is sharing one and this is a declaration that the small group in Four Friends Together can certainly attest to. It is story time and for one reason or another the friends are not able to enjoy the story together. Either someone is napping or someone cannot see the pictures. Eventually, however, the foursome discovers a solution that everyone can happily take pleasure in. The story is straightforward and there are less than twenty words on each page of this simple picture book. Although some of the character's name may be difficult for beginning readers, young children will welcome the uncomplicated story and will also like the wonderfully cozy and creative acrylic type illustrations. Children will learn that sharing and compromise can provide solutions that everyone appreciates. 2003, Candlewick Press, Ages 4 to 8.
— Denise Daley
School Library Journal
PreS-Seymour the sheep and Rachel the rabbit are waiting for storytime to begin. Mary Clare, a little girl in a red dress, is asleep, sprawled across a large, overstuffed armchair clutching a book; she's clearly the reader. Then Florentina, a "great big flowery bear," arrives and suggests that they wait for the girl to stir. She tries to sit in Mary Clare's chair, but it's much too small. Fortunately, the child wakes up and begins to read. As the friends settle into their favorite chairs, however, they find that they cannot all see the pictures comfortably. The charming resolution finds the three snuggled comfortably in Florentina's lap in the big armchair. Heap's double-paged acrylic illustrations are gorgeous and fitting; a subtle palette of neutral and pastel colors creates a soothing background, keeping the focus on the four characters. There's plenty of whimsical humor in this slow-paced story, and it all works to bear out Heap's sweet message that sharing books together is a joyous experience. Toddlers and preschoolers will be delighted to meet these four lovable friends.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
What could be better than reading a good story? Sharing it with good friends, of course. Mary Clare has fallen asleep with book in her lap while Seymour, the sheep, Rachel, the rabbit, and Florentina, the big flowery bear, wait patiently for her to wake up. Seymour and Rachel pass the time amused by Florentina's attempts to sit in a very small chair in lieu of her blooming large armchair, occupied by the snoozing Mary Clare. Their reader awakens to the pleas of her companions, eager to listen and see the pictures, scrambling from one chair to another, and all finally settling in the most comfortably accommodating seat in the house. Heap's simplistic telling of a common storytime concern is nicely complemented by her acrylic childlike drawings depicting expressions of impatience, mild distress, and contentment in predominating pastel hues. Pleasing and reassuring. (Picture book. 3-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763621117
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 7/15/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.88 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Sue Heap is the author and illustrator of WHAT SHALL WE PLAY? and COWBOY BABY, and the illustrator of COWBOY KID by Max Eilenberg nd THE HUNGRY MONSTER by Phyllis Root. Sue Heap says, "I think there’s only one thing better than a good story—and that’s sharing one."
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