The dedication page’s strategic placement of acorns attached to a branch—two intertwined and one, alone, sprouting in the opposite direction—foreshadows the conflict in this story of fluctuating friendships.
Looking like children in animal costumes, the peach-hued Cat and the brown-toned Bunny have been friends since they were born—“on the same day of the same month in the same year.” Pencil-and-watercolor scenes, rendered with an earthy palette against a clean white background, depict the duo daydreaming, bicycling and picnicking in a state of halcyon happiness. The Made-Up Game (their favorite) has rules only they know. One day, the game’s appealing train tracks, acorns and leaves attract the attention of Quail, who asks to join in. When Bunny warmly welcomes him, the other “creatures” follow, and Cat feels abandoned. It isn’t until an actual kitten cottons to Cat, and they devise a unique game, that she understands it is possible to enjoy more than one relationship. A final woodland scene where all play together follows organically from a simple, unforced conversation. Short sentences, often paired with several actions on a page, keep the eyes moving and the pages turning at a perfect pace for preschool attention spans.
Listeners will definitely relate to the pain of being left out; this gentle tale offers an opportunity to contemplate one’s own role in a solution. (Picture book. 3-6)