A new pair of best friends for the board-book crowd is introduced in this Australian import.
Lionel (a lion, natch) and Molly (a tiny mouse) make an improbable pair of best friends. Despite the size and dietary differences, though, they like the same things: jumping in puddles, picking apples, soaking up the sun, and watching leaves fall. Each activity is conveniently paired with a color—blue, green, yellow, red, respectively. Unfortunately, the tactile elements on each spread are unrelated to the color. For example, the puddle-jumping spread shows off a shiny fuchsia umbrella, while the “big blue puddle” is not highlighted. On the next page, Lionel's fuzzy yellow belly will attract little fingers, while the green apple referred to in the text is hidden in an equally green tree. In fact, recognizing and naming the colors is incidental to this simple story of friendship. Companion Opposites works somewhat better, though again the tactile elements seem arbitrarily chosen instead of carefully used to direct the child's attention to essential concepts. For example, on the page that says “Lionel is BIG. / Molly is small,” the bees are both fuzzy and, in one case, bigger than the mouse. The sweet tales of friendship overcome these minor flaws. Lionel and Molly's friendship will be a useful model for toddlers who are just starting to move beyond parallel play to social interaction.
Though a bit of a bust in the concept department, it’s a good way to set the stage for friends like George and Martha, Frog and Toad, and Elephant and Piggie. (Board book. 2-3)