Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Take Me Witcha When You Go! The Friend Ship by Kat Yeh

Hedgehog was curled up in a prickly ball in the lonely little nook of a lonely little tree.

If you're lookin' for love, the crook of a lonely tree is probably not the best place to find it, but Hedgie does hear some passerbys in a conversation that gives her an idea.

"Friendship is out there--all she has to do is look...."

Hmmm! There's a Friend Ship? Hedgie makes up her mind to set sail in her little boat and find that ship. Beaver helps her shove off, and soon they spot a herd of deer grazing on shore, and she asks if they have seen the Friend Ship. They haven't, but one speaks for the rest of them.

"Man, I could use a friend.  Can we come along?"

It's seems it's "only the lonely" out there, and as the little boat sails on, to the east, to the north, and to the south, it meets up with Little Rat, who asks for a ride. And one by one others join the crew as well. Then they sail up to a small island, where what must be the loneliest elephant in the world is marooned. Hedgehog swims over to ask if he's seen the Friend Ship.

"Isn't that it right over there?" he says, pointing to her crowded boat.

"You'll find your happiness lies right under your eyes, back in your own backyard" goes the old song, and suddenly Hedgehog realizes she's found the real friends she wants already, in Kat Yeh's sweet story of friendship found, The Friend Ship (Hyperion Books, 2016).

Artist Chuck Groenink does an admirable job of extending Yeh's straightforward narration with his gentle muted pastel illustrations which become more vivid as Hedgehog's Friend Ship sails happily westward into the setting sun. This is a good read for Valentine's Day, even though the premise is mostly metaphorical and not punctuated with big red Valentines. Of Groenink's artwork Publishers Weekly says, "The depth and quality of the light gives the spreads a hint of the sacred—just right for this hymn to friendship."

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