The kindly duo from Ella and Penguin Stick Together (2015) explore another friendship theme.
Penguin has found the perfect pair of striped pants to wear. But Ella is wearing a tutu and thinks that Penguin should wear one, too. After all, friends have to match. Penguin doesn’t want to disappoint, so he carefully squeezes into a tutu, his rosy cheeks growing redder with effort. A small “pfff” escapes his beak. When it is time for a snack, Ella suggests peppermints. Penguin decides he likes peppermints, too. “Because we’re friends! So we match!” Ella, the face of perfect contentment, delights in her candy, but Penguin spits his out in a minty rush. “Haaaaah! Hehhhhhh! Huuuuuh!” Poor Penguin, while getting the short end of the stick in every situation, is a comedic gem. Bonnet renders Penguin’s face into many agonizing contortions until suddenly he explodes in frustration: “This tutu is TOO TOO TIGHT!” Penguin and Ella’s friendship seems doomed. Friends have to like the same things, don’t they? Luckily, they realize they don’t have to match all the time. Maynor’s childcentric text is funny and empathetic. Ella is depicted as a little, light-skinned girl with dark hair, and Penguin is, well, a penguin.
Understanding each other’s unique needs is a tricky lesson to navigate—Ella and Penguin do so with charm and wit. (Picture book. 3-6)