Friends (Mostly)

32p. 978-0-06088-221-1.
K-Gr 3—This title provides an excellent springboard for conversations about friendship. Ruby and Henry are best friends—most of the time. Each one knows exactly what the other wants for birthdays. They easily fall into balance and choose complementary roles when playing pirates. They also know how to push each other's buttons, by sharing secrets when they know they shouldn't. Ruby is jealous when Henry swims well and she sinks in the pool. Despite all of this, they know their young lives wouldn't be the same without the other. When they are angry or apart, they miss all the wonderful character traits the other brings to the relationship. Ruby is a leader, always willing to try new things. Henry is the sturdy, reliable one and admires how she makes everything fun. Joosse uses some of the text in a dialogue format, the characters responding as if they were being interviewed, providing this picture book with a pre-chapter-book feel. Sections are loosely separated by a rhyme. Lively watercolor illustrations express the children's moods and provide vibrancy to the theme. Teachers and librarians will enjoy sharing this title with groups, and children can read it independently.—Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY
Best pals Ruby and Henry take turns explaining what good friends they are, after which they describe why they're mad at each other and, finally, how they forgive each other. The kids' stream-of-consciousness narration is difficult to follow, and the voices, which occasionally burst into verse, don't sound authentically childlike. Jaunty watercolors against white backgrounds illustrate the tale.

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