New Picture Books About Friendships -- even with ones you think you might not like!


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friendships are important. Sometimes your best friend may be someone whom at first you thought you didn't like or weren't going to like. Have you ever had one of those friendships? We often jump to judgement before getting to know someone and this can cause a missed opportunity at a best friend. Today I'm going to share two new picture books about friendships that almost don't happen because of missed opportunities. The first is I'm Sticking with You--And the Chicken Too! by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and illustrated by Steve Small. It is recommended for ages 4-8.

From the Publisher:

In this follow up to I’m Sticking with You, Bear and Squirrel are back, and they’re perfectly in tune. They make merry music, they sing the same song—it’s all going great, until Chicken comes along.

Chicken knows she could add something to Bear and Squirrel’s band of two, but the duo is certain that three is a crowd! Fed up, Chicken leaves—and lands herself in hot water. Will Bear and Squirrel come to the rescue?

From Me:

Bear and Squirrel are definitely best friends. I am guessing this was established in the first book, but not having read it, I am not sure. Chicken sees them having fun and asks to join, but Bear and Squirrel want nothing to do with adding a third to their group. Finally, Chicken goes looking for friends who will actually want her around and unfortunately falls for a trick to meet a group of wolves that want to eat her.

Bear and Squirrel witness this grave mistake and step in and decide having a third friend in their group is the right thing to do. This book is perfect for when there is a new person in class or the neighborhood and encouraging the kids to welcome them into their groups of friends. It would be an interesting discussion to have with kids why Bear and Squirrel did not want Chicken around in the first place and why they decided to be friends with her after seeing her in danger. And, of course having a discussion about how they first treat Chicken. They are not very nice to her at first. It is also a great introduction to talking about friendship and the qualities you want in a friend. 

The second book is the newest book by David McPhail. We discovered David McPhail's books back when we did the Virtual Book Club for Kids. Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity to share his latest book with you. It is Truffle: A Dog (and Cat) Story. It is recommended for ages 4 to 6.

From the Publisher:

This is the story of a little dog who had difficulties with cats, until the day that everything changed.

Truffle, a small dog, was born and raised on a farm, where he was put in charge of keeping the rats out of the barn, and the badgers out of the fields. Truffle enjoyed his work, and he took pride in doing it well. The only difficulty he had was with cats.

Nothing irritated Truffle more than the sight of a cat sleeping on the job while the mice ate their fill in the corncrib. Truffle would howl loudly, waking the cat, which then would dash off with Truffle close behind!

He never actually caught the cat, and he would not harm it if he did. It was all about the chase.

Truffle enjoyed his work, but he felt that something was missing in his life. So, he left the farm to search for those missing pieces.

From Me:

This is a sweet book. I love that the dogs dress and act like humans while the other animals do not. Plus, it is the old dog versus cat story. Truffle enjoys his life on the farm and when he gets an inheritance he decides to retire and become a gentleman of leisure. He gets a fancy suit made for himself and goes for daily walks with built in stops. He notices that cats are everywhere, but he continues to frequent the business with them as pets. He then decides to go on a vacation and see the ocean. While there he sees a cat in trouble and jumps into the water to save it. A new friendship is born. Tom the cat and he became besties and spend the rest of his vacation together. When Truffle returns home, he misses Tom. He invites Tom for a visit and their friendship continues (as does Tom's visit). 

I love that Truffle is kind enough to jump into the water to save a cat--an animal that he clearly does not like. He complains about all the cats in his village throughout the book. But it is made clear that he likes to chase them to get them to do their work on the farm and just to chase them. He would never hurt one. Then a cat is who becomes his best friend. It truly has the feel for a discussion about how you cannot judge someone based on their looks or first impressions. It would be a lovely book to talk about prejudices as well as friendships. After all the dog and cat theme could be boy versus girl, Black versus white, straight versus gay, able versus disabled, etc. The book is for younger kids, but I think it could be an interesting discussion with older kids as well making the analogies about the cat and dog with other current issues in the world. 

The book is very fun and the illustrations are wonderful. It can bring up some great discussions as well as topics other than just friendship. I hope you will check out both books!