The two animal friends, a pig and a bunny, from Me and You and Without You (2009, 2011) are back in a return engagement as they attempt to put on a play, but will their emotions get in the way?
An orange sheet clipped to a clothesline becomes the backdrop as the pig says: “Where are you? The stage is ready. Let’s put on a play!” “ I’m too shy,” answers the bunny. The pig replies, “So? I’M shy, too!” So begins an exchange of feelings on opposite pages in point-counterpoint style. On verso, the bunny says, “[W]hen I’m scared, I freeze like this”; ears and tiptoes crossed, the bunny holds its front paws up to its chin and gazes, wide-eyed, out at readers. On the opposite page, the pig says, “Oh, when I’M scared, I SCREAM like this,” arms out, head back, mouth wide open and tail jagged with fright. The pig wants to play pirates on a shipwreck, but the bunny wants to sing a duet dressed as sunflowers. This causes a rift in the friendship that goes from mad to glad. The characters are nameless and therefore universal, and as conveyed totally in dialogue, the soft-edged message hits home with childlike simplicity. Though there are no quotation marks, the consistent placement of dialogue on the page and differentiating typefaces keep readers on track; the bunny’s sunflower bonnet and pig’s pirate hat work nicely as unifying design elements (down to the endpapers).
Third in a series, the book easily stands alone. Among all the picture-book friendship stories, this one stands out for the younger set. (Picture book. 2-5)