Baz and Benz by Heidi McKinnon

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Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760523688.
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Themes: Friendship, Visual literacy, Humour. A story promoting friendship despite the annoying behaviour of one, will find a place in every classroom as friendships and their resultant disharmonies take up a lot of classroom time. How opportune to have this book on hand which promotes friendship and in a humorous way lets readers know that we are all different and despite being the best of friends, a friend may some times be annoying. Baz in asking questions tests the boundaries of their friendship, and the things which make friends, friends.
With two owls sitting on a branch staring out at the reader, Baz asks Benz to confirm that they are the best of friends, and when Benz tells him that yes they are the best of friends, Baz then details a few things which might make a difference to their friendship. Will they still be friends when he is purple, or purple with spots, or if he says Meep all the time? Each time, Benz answers positively although the look in his eyes starts to question.
When Baz then says Meep all the time, Benz tells him that this is really annoying, and asks him to stop.
Baz then disappears, but returns to say that he may be a bat. Benz tells him that this would be scary, and that he would be afraid. Despite all this, Benz tells him that they would still be friends.
Told with humour, the look on both faces on each page will titillate the readers as they can easily see just how each is feeling, encouraging facial recognition.
McKinnon's bold use of blocks of colour, like screen printing, encourages the readers to focus on the action of the story, watching for visual clues on each page.
I laughed out loud at I just ate my friend (2017) and this one is just as funny, exploring the limits of friendship and encouraging visual literacy.
Fran Knight