Wiggle and the whale: A book of funny friends by Roger Priddy
Ill. by Lindsey Sagar. Priddy Books, 2016. ISBN 9781783413522
(Ages: 2-5) Rhyming. Animals. Friendship. Collage. This simple book in the Alphaprints series is explicit in its purpose, initially asking 'What makes a perfect animal pair?', and then explaining that even though friends can be different colours and sizes, all friendships are special. Then follows shorts rhymes about each of the pairs of animal friends: what makes them special and how they are different. The animal pairs are fantastical (including a pink baby bear and a hedgehog), but the drastic differences between them make the message even clearer. While the lower end of the target age may not fully appreciate the message of the story, they will enjoy the simple rhyming text and the fantastic illustrations, which use different objects (as well as many fingerprints) to create the animals and the brightly coloured worlds around them. Photographs of iced donuts create the bear and his lair, the hedgehog's body is a pinecone, and the flamingo's neck is a pink feather boa. Children will love identifying these objects and will enjoy the visual textures they create on each page. The rhymes about each animal, while not always masterful, are mostly pleasing when read aloud and relate accurate information about animal behaviours and habitats. Preschool and early childhood teachers will find this book useful to get children thinking about how they are different to their friends and to discuss diversity. It could also springboard art activities involving collage and fingerprint printing.