Florian explores both the joys and conflicts of having a friend.
Twenty-five poems are accompanied by childlike drawings using colored pencils and crayon on manila paper. Their scribbled nature instantly connotes a time when making friends is brand new and both difficult and thrilling by turns. Loose-limbed and energetic, Florian’s friends of all ethnicities hug, stretch, and reach their arms out in hopes of reciprocity. Sometimes friends share everything: “We stick, we two, like glue, like glue. / We stick like thick molasses. / So close we are, we stick like tar / (and share one pair of glasses).” But other times, friendships fall apart: “We used to be friends. / We drifted away. / Will we get back together? / Well, maybe someday.” Florian explores themes of jealousy, trust, and separation. Friends don’t even always have to be human—sometimes they are imaginary, sometimes they are found in nature, and sometimes (as in a quick-witted reveal) they could even be a computer. Especially appropriate for a book on friendship, three poems are made for two voices to encourage reading together.
Children are growing and figuring out who they are in relation to those around them; the direct, purposeful style of poetry lends itself nicely to navigating the many emotions of friendship. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)