My Best Friend by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (9781534427228)
A little girl talks about her new friend, who just might also be her best friend too. The two of them play together at the park, quacking like ducks, running around, and even siting quietly. Her friend knows how to turn leaves into skeleton hands and fix flowers that have been stepped on, kind of. The two draw together, and the little girl realizes they might just be best friends. They hide together during hide and seek, trying to muffle their giggles. When the little girl pretends to be a pickle, her friend laughed and laughed. They may like different kinds of ice cream, but they can still be best friends. Perhaps tomorrow they can learn each other’s names!
Fogliano perfectly captures the wonder of meeting a kindred spirit as a child and spending an entire day together laughing and playing. Her writing shows all of their shared activities and how they help the two girls bond closely together, despite just having met. Silly things like pretending to be a pickle serve to prove they have the same sense of humor, so that taste in ice cream flavors can be ignored. The ending of the book is clever and sets just the right moment, showing deep understanding of children.
Tamaki’s illustrations are marvelous. She shows the two girls playing and laughing together. They are done in a modern limited color palette of pinks, greens and browns that show the girls in fine-lined detail with very expressive faces. It’s like getting to play along with them yourself.
A warm look at first friendships. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy provided by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.