A BOOK OF FRIENDS

PLB 0-06-028362-9 Ross reduces a topic as enigmatic and multi-faceted as friendship to didacticism and platitudes. “Friends come in all different sizes and shapes and colors,” the text intones; friends can be big and small, new and old, best and imaginary. The things Ross suggests pals do together—take new experiences, confide troubles, have an adventure, share—will hardly be news to children, and becomes somewhat bald in these pages. The asides are worse: “It’s not the size of your friends that counts. It is the size of your heart” and “It doesn’t matter how many friends you have. . . . It’s quality, not quantity, that counts!” Some people won’t mind the presentation; the bestseller lists are full of such volumes as Ross and Rader’s A Book of Hugs; still, most children will want to dodge the finger-wagging. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 30, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-028170-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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NO MATTER WHAT

Small, a very little fox, needs some reassurance from Large in the unconditional love department. If he is grim and grumpy, will he still be loved? “ ‘Oh, Small,’ said Large, ‘grumpy or not, I’ll always love you, no matter what.’ “ So it goes, in a gentle rhyme, as Large parries any number of questions that for Small are very telling. What if he were to turn into a young bear, or squishy bug, or alligator? Would a mother want to hug and hold these fearsome animals? Yes, yes, answers Large. “But does love wear out? Does it break or bend? Can you fix it or patch it? Does it mend?” There is comfort in Gliori’s pages, but it is a result of repetition and not the imagery; this is a quick fix, not an enduring one, but it eases Small’s fears and may well do the same for children. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202061-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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DAVID GOES TO SCHOOL

The poster boy for relentless mischief-makers everywhere, first encountered in No, David! (1998), gives his weary mother a rest by going to school. Naturally, he’s tardy, and that’s but the first in a long string of offenses—“Sit down, David! Keep your hands to yourself! PAY ATTENTION!”—that culminates in an afterschool stint. Children will, of course, recognize every line of the text and every one of David’s moves, and although he doesn’t exhibit the larger- than-life quality that made him a tall-tale anti-hero in his first appearance, his round-headed, gap-toothed enthusiasm is still endearing. For all his disruptive behavior, he shows not a trace of malice, and it’ll be easy for readers to want to encourage his further exploits. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-48087-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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