Review Blog

Feb 09 2016

Be a friend by Salina Yoon

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781619639515
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Friendship, Being different, Miming. Dennis loves to mime his stories during show and tell. He tells a story quite differently form the others in his class, wearing his top hat and striped jumpers. While the others climb the tree, Dennis is the tree, but looking at the other children playing together, he realises that he is lonely. He feels there is an invisible wall between them all, one that they cannot see through. But one day as he kicks his imaginary ball, it is kicked back to him. Her name is Joy and she can see him quite well, and the invisible wall is now a mirror. The two are very similar and do many things together, attracting the attention of the other children, who can see Dennis now as well.
This charming little story about friendship will have wide appeal. Children will be encouraged by the story to see past their differences and look for the similarities, to celebrate the differences, to create friendships with others in their class.
Salina Yoon's Penguin books will be well known to younger readers and this one has the same theme, that of friendship, but told for a slightly older group. Her pared back illustrations will intrigue readers, following Dennis' journey to friendship and delighting in his difference. This beautifully presented hard cover book done in sepia tones will also introduce the idea of mime to a younger class, one they can practice along with Dennis and Joy.
Fran Knight

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