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A Friend

A Friend

by Anette Bley (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Here is a choice selection for starting discussions with young children about what friendship means, what friends are, what they do, and what it means to be a friend. The first pair of endpapers launches into the topic with both feet. "I'd like a friend�" it declares in the corner, and 13 two-tone green-and-white boxes show many different people completing the thought. Several are laugh-out-loud funny, as the girl who wants a friend "who'd take walks on warm, sunny days" and is shown walking with an elephant, whose trunk she gently holds like a hand. Or how about the parakeet who wishes for a friend "who might forget to close the cage door"? Each two-page spread is unevenly split into two or more frames, and the right-most frame is always continued after the turn of the page. For example, "A friend who is quiet with me�" in the right-most frame shows a girl sitting on a swing as she would be seen from behind. Turn the page, and the thought continues "�when I am sad" while we see that she is holding on her lap a smaller child with a scraped knee. Some thoughts are serious, some are whimsical; often, both sides of an emotion are shown. For example, readers are likely to appreciate the desire for a friend to be "[s]omeone who is there whenever I need help." as well as one "�who doesn't try to help when I want to do things on my own." Anette Bley's illustrations are the perfect complement for—nay, extension of—her own text. Readers will be inspired to reflect on their own friendships, their own wishes, and their own actions. Highly recommended. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
Kirkus Reviews
Bley provides readers with a comprehensive list of the traits that a good friend has, from the relatively easy things, like playing together on a rainy day and helping when needed, to the more difficult ones, like stepping back and allowing independence and having the courage to tell the truth. Being a good friend involves some finesse and also some intimate knowledge of your pal: "Someone who shows me the way...when I feel lost. / Someone who lets me find my own way...when I am ready." The mixed-media illustrations are rich in texture and tongue-in-cheek humor: A child holding out a plate for the dog to lick illustrates the concept that friends share when they are hungry...and when they are not. The split-panel design allows multiple concepts to appear on a spread and also at times extend a scene over a page turn. The borderline-stereotypical image of pale- and outsized-lipped black characters is an unfortunate misstep in an otherwise valuable springboard for discussions of friendship, whether in the classroom, at home or in a storytime setting. (Picture book. 3-10)

Product Details

Kane/Miller Book Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

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