A Friend in Deed: Fox Makes Friends by Adam Relf
Little Fox is old enough to be bored, but too young to know what to do about it. "You need a friend," says Mom, and Fox grabs for his butterfly net to go out and catch one. "You can't catch a friend," Mom explains. "You have to make friends."
With the literal mind of the very young, Fox follows her directions. "What can I make a friend out of," he puzzles. He chooses his materials carefully--an apple, some nuts, and some sticks, and assembles them into an interesting figure. "Are you my friend? Can you come and play?" When nothing happens, Fox determines that the figure must be too small to be a friend.
When a little rabbit comes by, Fox appeals to him for help. "Can you help me make a bigger one?" "Okay," says Rabbit, and the two assemble a big turnip, some little tomatoes, and some twigs into a creditable figure with large red eyes and long arms. But their friend figure still doesn't do anything. "Maybe he's still too small," Rabbit opines.
"What a mess you've made," says a giggling little squirrel who has been watching from the trees. "Well, if you can do better come down and help us," say Rabbit and Fox. Soon a huge turnip becomes the head, apples become the bulging eyes, and branches become the limbs of the newest friend figure. "Are you our friend? Can you come and play?" they ask. When nothing happens, the three decide they are all obviously failures at making friends.
Mother Fox finds the three little ones sitting disconsolately on a log. "Hello," she says happily. "I see you've made new friends." "We made friends, but they won't play with us!" Fox responds sadly.
"Not THEM!" Mother Fox giggles. "THESE friends," she says, pointing to Rabbit and Squirrel.
Finally the three little ones get it. Friends aren't things you make; they're people you have fun making things with, and "Fox realizes that he's been making friends all along."
In Fox Makes Friends Relf's watercolor, acrylic, and digital media illustrations of the three little animals venturing out into the wider world of friendship are charming and appealing, and this story is sure to strike a chord with preschoolers who are just beginning to understand how to go about making their first friends.