This simple ode to friendship is snuggly, warm, and a little bit bland.
A squat brown bear celebrates the many ways that friends enrich life. Friends can be silly, friends can be comforting, and sometimes all they need to do to make a difference in your day is send a quick wave your way. Indeed, this bear protagonist has a wide variety of animal companions: a studious mole who is deep underground with a book, penguins on ice floes (though astute readers will wonder why the polar bear in the background is in the same region), capering barnyard animals. There are friends to be found even underwater—fish and turtles make excellent buddies. The text unrolls in uncomplicated rhyming stanzas: “Some friends are kind / and know just what to say, // Bringing the sunshine / to brighten your day.” Abbot’s illustrations are flat and delicately hued—even when saturated they are still calming and sweet. Cavorting sheep and bouncing bunnies bring gentle smiles. In a far-from-groundbreaking resolution, the bear’s best friend is another ursine pal, though the story is told in first person, so the “you” may make audiences feel as though they are included as well.
A book to cuddle with on a lap or a quiet, contemplative addition to a younger storytime. (Picture book. 2-5)