Finding a best friend is easier than these critters realize.
The little porcupine introduced in Elmore (2018) has several friends, but he’s hoping to find a best friend. His uncle insists that getting one “just happens” and to “be patient.” Elmore shares his woes with Pinky the skunk. Both agree that best friends should share preferences, such as being nocturnal. In an episode straight out of Robert McCloskey’s Blueberries for Sal, Elmore is out picking berries when a bear cub and its mother burst onto the scene, scaring him. Hearing the cries for help, Pinky comes running and releases his characteristic scent, which all bears hate. Elmore, though, likes it since it reminds him of Pinky: “It’s so you,” he tells the skunk. Later, while making his blueberry pie, Elmore realizes that his best friend was “right under [his] nose all along”—brave, clever Pinky. They share the pie, which is “half the pleasure” of making it. The story is endearing in its heartfelt simplicity, maintains sincerity, and reminds readers that there are fitting companions for all types. Hobbie’s illustrations are reminiscent of Beatrix Potter’s in style and content: Soft watercolor shading and strategic fine details depict animals in minimal clothes living naturally outside but with comfortable furnishings in their burrows. They have a charm all their own while evoking the classics.
Share this book with your best friend. (Picture book. 3-7)