Best Friends in the Universe

illus. by LeUyen Pham. 40p. Scholastic. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545659888.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 2—This clever book about friendship features two boys writing a book together. Though there are "five million" reasons why they are best friends, they only get to the top four—both yearn for a pet python, love jokes, and like dance parties and inventing new foods. "Here's another reason why we're best friends: We keep each other's secrets. Like how one time, Louie wet his pants after too much peanut butter toast milkshake." Louie is not very happy with his best friend for spilling that one. He retaliates by sharing a secret of Hector's, and suddenly, their book is re-purposed as the "Worst Friends in the Universe." Hurtful things are said, the book is canceled, and the friendship is over—or is it? The boys soon realize nothing is the same without a best bud. The childlike pencil and crayon illustrations, enhanced with Photoshop, are bold and full of humor, set against lined notebook paper. The two wide-eyed boys wear their emotions on their sleeves, and the text is entirely in large speech bubbles. This entertaining look at two besties who get in a fight and find their way to forgiveness will speak volumes to elementary school children without being didactic.
VERDICT An important selection for all collections.

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