How Humans Make Friends

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Using the same premise as Jeanne Willis's Earthlets As Explained by Professor Xargle (1991) but far less successfully, Leedy (Who's Who in My Family?) here has the three-eyed Zork Tripork assemble his fellow aliens for his report on the young humans he has observed on his recent expedition to Earth. The book's title pinpoints the lesson of the day and, with the help of largely lackluster pictures, Tripork shows how human friends meet (at the "learning building," at "tiptoe class"); things they do ("play with spheres," "stare at moving images"); and what they talk about ("weather conditions," "edible items"). Leedy then dips into didactic waters as she discusses how friends do and don't get along: sharing, taking turns and keeping promises result in "good feelings"; teasing, acting bossy and breaking promises bring on "bad feelings." However worthwhile the message, its delivery is disappointingly bland. For the most part, Leedy's attempts to cash in on the alien perspective to add humor simply fall flat. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Catherine Campbell Wright
Meet Dr. Zork Tripork, an alien who has been visiting planet Earth to study human friendships. Dr. Tripork has finished his study and is now back on his home planet. This book is a "transcript" of the slide show he presents to his fellow aliens! Through clever dialogue and humorous use of English, young readers see how human friendships appear through the eyes of a stranger. For example, Dr. Tripork's first presentation shows us "Where Friends Meet." According to him, humans meet each other near human dwellings (houses), in the learning building (school), and at the play zone (park)! What do human friends do together? Why, they gaze at animals (go to the zoo) and stare at moving images (movies), of course! This book makes it easy for children to recognize ways to make new friends and to remain a good friend. It also shows how sometimes friendships can run into trouble and how that can be fixed. The multicultural illustrations are accurate in that they depict situations kids can relate to in their daily lives. This lighthearted and humorous book presents its serious message very well (older children will appreciate some of the subtle humor).
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2Dr. Zork Tripork has been to Earth to find out how humans make friends. Now he is reporting back to the inhabitants of his home planet. He tells where and how friends meet, what they do together, what they talk about, and what about them annoys one another. The alien audience makes humorous comments that lead readers to understand that they develop friendships in much the same ways. This is a simple presentation of the topic. The art is done in Leedy's typical cartoon style, laid out in strips or circles with the human dialogue in balloons and alien commentary in strips at the bottom of each page. However, the colors are more muted than usual. The pictures are not as well drawn or as interesting as those found in some of the artist's other titles such as Messages in the Mailbox (Holiday, 1991). All in all, it's sort of a bland offering with few surprises.Elaine Lesh Morgan, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
Denia Hester
Through the eyes of Zork--an alien from an unnamed planet--the intricacies of earthling friendship rituals are revealed. Zork discovers that humans can meet friends anywhere, like the "learning building" (school), and do all kinds of activities together, like "stare at human images" (movies). But friendships can be fragile, and the observant extraterrestrial notices that humans have feelings that can be hurt when friends break promises or don't share. Each human behavior is illustrated in cartoon-style panels with appropriately goofy aliens populating the bottoms of the pages. This primer makes starting and keeping friendships look like a breeze.
Kirkus Reviews
Another lighthearted, elementary guide from Leedy (2x2=Boo!, 1995, etc.), this time a clever how-to on the subject of friendship.

Alien Zork Tripork presents a film he's made on a recent expedition to Earth; his audience members are fellow aliens, winsomely odd-looking and seated along the bottom of most spreads. They add their own zany comments to the coverage of topics such as where friends meet, what they do, how they get along (or don't), and how they admit their mistakes. Zork Tripork's literal-minded remarks—the humans "play with spheres" (balls)—provide humor, but the real laughs come from the audience. One two-headed brown creature, apparently of pinking-shear ancestry, carries on a hilarious dialogue: "Do you want to play Universal Blasters later on?" says one head. The other head replies, "Sure, I love to win." Leedy's approach leavens serious information with giggles in this highly effective discussion of the emotional ties that bind.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823412235
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/1996
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.68 (w) x 11.38 (h) x 0.38 (d)

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