The concept of friendship earns itself another tribute picture book, this time with crisp, stunning photographs to match.
“There, in the crowd, is someone— / who likes the things you like.” Brief text reassures readers that there’s a friend somewhere out there for everybody and then lists all the things such a pal could do as well as the additional benefits of what such a friendship would bring. All told, the text is a pep talk to the lonely, promising great companionship to come. Its near platitudes are ameliorated by the book’s eye-popping photographs of children and adults in 18 different countries. The backmatter includes a map of the world indicating where the photos were taken, quotes on friendship by Ralph Waldo Emerson, C.S. Lewis, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and a note to parents and caregivers that includes Web resources with “ideas on helping your kids make friends” as well as “resources on bullying.” The result is a book that seems to hope to serve a very specific type of reader—the lonely kind—while also reaching for universality. Perhaps surprisingly, in the end it works, the world photography going a long way toward supporting its overarching goal.
Though it treads perilously close to inspirational blandness, this book will serve to comfort those seeking friends of their own and inspire others to expand their friendship circles. (Picture book. 6-8)