Can inanimate objects become friends?
When the objects are books, the answer is yes! Veronica’s schoolmates dismiss her as “a richy-rich snob” because she “talked of many fine things, / like operas and oysters and gleaming gold rings.” It is not until Veronica invites them home that the other kids realize that V.V.’s pretentious manner is inspired by what she’s read. Her house is falling apart, but it’s filled with books. She makes good on her invitation: “I’ll gleefully give you a round-the-world trip.” There is a double-page spread with Boston ducklings, peaceful Spanish Ferdinand, and French Madeline. The diverse group of friends (Veronica is white with lush, red hair) soon embraces her, listening politely as Veronica preaches about books: “they’re my playmates, my pals, / my companions, my buddies.” When Veronica sorrowfully finishes her last book, the other kids bring her to a new place, the public library. The verse occasionally cloys: “Veronica Veetch was a curious girl, / from the size of her teeth to the swirl of her curl.” The six line-and-color friends appear in the foreground in full color, with shadowy, detailed monochrome drawings of the books’ subject matter in the background; the overall effect can be hard to parse and limits the book’s use as a read-aloud. Veronica’s library is not as diverse as her friends—titles referenced tend toward the “classics.”
A sincere but sometimes-treacly paean to books and their myriad pleasures. (Picture book. 6-8)