Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Be a Friend

Be a Friend
By Salina Yoon
Bloomsbury, 2016. Picture book.

Dennis is an ordinary boy who happens to express himself in extraordinary ways. When everyone else does show and tell in class, Dennis doesn’t bring an object or talk about one—he silently mimes a scene instead. While the other children climb trees, Dennis pretends to be a tree. Even though Dennis is happy being different, he begins to feel lonely and invisible. Until one day, he kicks an imaginary ball and someone catches it!

This is a simple story with a rich underlying message about friendship and celebrating what makes each person unique. Yoon’s subdued colors, sepia backgrounds, and soft pencil work are an exciting exploration from an already accomplished and popular author. The red dashed lines do a great job showing Dennis’s imaginary objects and actions, and young children will be able to follow the story visually even without reading the text. A beautifully designed treatise on self-acceptance, the joy of finding a like-minded friend, and the desire to connect with those around us.

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