To Friend or Unfriend: Friends (Mostly) by Barbara Joosse
RUBY AND HENRY, HENRY AND RUBY. USUALLY WE'RE FRIENDS, BUT SOMETIMES WE'RE UNFRIENDS. IT ALL DEPENDS.
There are bazillions of children's books chronicling the process and joys of friendship, but as the bards have reminded us down the ages, the course of true friendship does not always run smooth.
So it is with BFFs Ruby and Henry. Ruby picks the best birthday presents for friend Henry--not just another coloring book, but a fake nose with adjacent mustache, and she's the professional mourner at his goldfish funerals. And only Henry knows that what Ruby really wants for her birthday is her very own lipstick. But sometimes they disagree, and sometimes they even fight.
I SPLASHED HENRY'S TOWEL ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE. "CUT IT OUT!" HE SPUTTERED.
"SERVES YOU RIGHT," I MUTTERED. "WHO WANTS TO BE FRIENDS WITH A SHOW-OFF?"
But being unfriended is scary, too. What if the former friend finds a new best friend? Who else likes to do all their favorite things together? And will saying "I'm sorry, really sorry!" bring back their friendship?
In the award-winning Barbara Joosse's newest, Friends (Mostly) (Greenwillow Books, 2010) the classic tension between staying independent and being a friend is delineated for the youngest readers, not as a steady state but as an ebb and flow, even on the final page, where we see a snoozing Henry on his beach towel and Ruby, with a devilish gleam in her eye, sneaking up with a fat balloon and a pin poised to give him a rude awakening. Lively and colorful cartoons by Tomaso Milian fill the pages with plenty of motion to hold the reader's attention. It's not Shakespeare's King Lear, but it's a easy beginning to the understanding of human relationships as a never-ending process.
NOT THE END....