Can Harry and Sam’s friendship survive a kingship?
Big bear Harry and little bear Sam are best friends who decide to play kings one day. First they need crowns. Harry’s is golden, but Sam’s is huge and bejeweled. Harry’s sand castle is lumpy, while Sam’s is highly detailed and has a moat. On the swings, little Sam soars high while Harry’s bottom drags the ground. The other woodland creatures heap praise on Sam for his all-around excellence, and Harry begins to notice his efforts are nothing compared to Sam’s easy skills. When they play kings of the pond and the creatures begin chanting Sam’s name, Harry’s had enough. He splashes everyone with a big dive and goes to play at being king by himself. Neither bear has fun alone, and Harry gets an idea to patch up the friendship his jealousy nearly ruined. Hot Rod Hamster illustrator Anderson writes and illustrates this gentle tale of the green-eyed monster. That the Greek chorus of forest critters speak in speech balloons throughout while Harry and Sam’s dialogue is set within the narrative text nicely sets their praise outside the friends’ relationship. The illustrations neatly manage pacing with shifts from full spreads to vignettes; created with ink and Photoshop, they are adorable and cartoony.
Little listeners who have been on both sides of this friendship equation will identify with this thoughtful (but never preachy) outing. (Picture book. 3-7)