The familiar theme of the challenges facing a new kid in town is given an original treatment by photographer Border in this book of photos of three-dimensional objects in a simple modeled landscape.
Peanut Butter is represented by a slice of white bread spread with the popular condiment. The other characters in the story—a hamburger with a pair of hot dogs in tow, a bowl of alphabet soup, a meatball jumping a rope of spaghetti, a carton of French fries and a pink cupcake—are represented by skillfully crafted models of these foods, anthropomorphized using simple wire construction. Rejected by each character in turn in his search for playmates, Peanut Butter discovers in the end that Jelly is his true match (not Cupcake, as the title suggests), perhaps because she is the only one who looks like him, being a slice of white bread spread with jelly. The friendly foods end up happily playing soccer together. Some parents may have trouble with the unabashedly happy depiction of carbs and American junk food (no carrots or celery sticks in this landscape), and others may find themselves troubled by the implication that friendship across difference is impossible.
Still, preschoolers will likely savor this mouthwatering treatment of a subject that looms large in many early school experiences. (Picture book. 3-6)