That's What Friends Are for

Overview

All the elephant's friends give him advice, but none can solve his problem until the opossum announces friends are to help, not just to give advice.

Theodore the elephant has hurt his leg and can't meet his cousin at the end of the forest. What a pity! Of course, all the other animals are more than willing to give him advice. After all, that's what friends are for -- isn't it? Florence Parry Heide's unmistakable dry wit rings through this clever cumulative tale of a...

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Overview

All the elephant's friends give him advice, but none can solve his problem until the opossum announces friends are to help, not just to give advice.

Theodore the elephant has hurt his leg and can't meet his cousin at the end of the forest. What a pity! Of course, all the other animals are more than willing to give him advice. After all, that's what friends are for -- isn't it? Florence Parry Heide's unmistakable dry wit rings through this clever cumulative tale of a long-suffering elephant, his well-meaning friends, and a straight-shooting opossum who reminds them all what being a real friend means.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Caldecott Honor Book artist Holly Meade (Hush!) creates a new look for That's What Friends Are For by Florence Parry Heide and Sylvia Van Clief, originally published in 1968. In this cumulative tale, Theodore the elephant hurts his leg and cannot go to meet his cousin. All his friends give him useless advice-the bird suggests Theodore fly; the crab that he grow a new leg-until the opossum explains that friends are for more than giving advice, and offers a practical solution. Meade's jungle-bright watercolor washes and cut-paper collages add warmth and humor to her inventive compositions. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
First written in 1968, Holly Meade's illustrations breathe life into a story that's an oldie but a goodie. Theodore the elephant has injured his leg and cannot meet his cousin on the other side of the forest. Theodore's friends appear one after the other to offer their advice. Unfortunately, the advice is not all that helpful. Bird advises Theodore to fly to the other side of the forest, Monkey suggests swinging through the trees, Crab mentions that he could cut off the offending limb and grow a new one, and Lion suggests a mighty roar to notify the cousin. Of course, none of this advice works well for Theodore. Fortunately, Opossum shows up and points out that friends are not for giving advice but for helping, and he suggests the friends go and bring the cousin to Theodore. They accomplish this and soon Theodore, his cousin and his friends are all enjoying a party in the forest. Meade's illustrations have watercolor backgrounds behind cut paper animals, which gives them a great deal of dimension. The detailed animals stand out against the impressionist backgrounds and are very appealing in their shapes, colors and textures. This simple story shows one of the most valuable gifts of friendship in a delightful 32 pages. 2003 (orig. 1968), Candlewick Press,
— Sharon Oliver
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-First published in 1968 (Four Winds; o.p.) and illustrated by Brinton Turkle, this selection is a bit more didactic than most friendship stories, but the topic is always in demand, and the language patterns and repetition may make it useful for beginning readers. "Theodore the elephant is sitting in the middle of the forest. He has hurt his leg. What a pity!" So begins this cumulative tale of how he enlists his many friends to help him visit his cousin. He gets lots of advice; for instance, the bird tells him to fly, the spider tells him to use his other legs, the monkey suggests that he just swing by his tail. It's not until he meets the opossum that he gets what he really needs, and everyone learns that, "Friends are to help." Told in the present tense with an old-fashioned flavor, this story offers a simple variation on a very old theme. Meade's cut-paper and watercolor pictures are fresh and lively, with soft clear colors.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Poor Theodore Elephant is hobbled-an injured leg means he can't meet his cousin at the edge of the forest. He considers asking his friends for advice. "Nonsense," declares practical opossum, "Friends are to help." If Theodore can't go to his cousin, the friends will bring his cousin to Theodore. First published in 1968 with illustrations by Caldecott Honor-winner Brinton Turkle, this cumulative tale of caring is here animated by another Caldecott-winner's collages of carefully prepared and painted papers. Artful scratches and swirls give elephantine texture to wrinkly Theodore and make a lion's mane luxurious, and rainforest-ripe colors cause even the smallest creature to pop from the pages. Contact shadows and a variety of edges and background treatments add depth and movement, while pin-point touches of black convey an extraordinary range of expressions. Particularly effective is a sun-seared sienna silhouette of the animals' trek, leading to a memorable denouement: "To give advice is very nice, but friends can do much more. Friends should always help a friend. That's what friends are for!" (Picture book. 3-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756981266
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2007
  • Pages: 31
  • Sales rank: 652,033
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.70 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Sylvia Van Clief collaborated with Florence Parry Heide on a wide variety
of books and songs, including the children’s collection entitled "Songs to Sing About Things You Think About," with Ms. Van Clief composing the music and Ms. Heide writing the words. Sylvia Van Clief died in 1974.

Holly Meade has illustrated many acclaimed books for children, including
ON MORNING WINGS by Reeve Lindbergh and HUSH!: A THAI LULLABY by Minfong Ho, a Caldecott Honor Book. "I just love the genuineness and warmth of this story. These well-meaning forest
critters so completely miss the mark in helping their friend - thank goodness for the opossum!"
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