A Splendid Friend, Indeed
Written & Illustrated by Susan Bloom
Reading level: Ages 3 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Boyds Mills Pr (March 1, 2005)
Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounce
Maybe it is just me, but I love it when our First Friday Book Review falls on the first day of the month, because it means that we get to introduce the monthly theme with a story that somehow embraces the subject. It also gives us an opportunity to offer a tool that can be used to begin a conversation with a child, which is, after all, one of the most exciting things about children’s books. This June is Friendship Month at Little Pickle Press and today we review A Splendid Friend, Indeed, by Suzanne Bloom.
The Story: Meet Bear: “Bear wants to read and write and think”. He is introspective and prefers to be left alone. Meet Goose: “Goose wants to talk and talk and talk.” He is inquisitive, curious, and LOUD. Anyone who has ever been in the room with a talker when they are trying to read knows that it can be, well, more than a little distracting. So it goes that Bear finds himself irritated with Goose when he simply insists on talking about everything that Bear is doing. The question becomes: can Bear and Goose be friends in spite of their differences?
The Artwork: Suzanne Bloom’s A Splendid Friend, Indeed is composed of a combination of short simple sentences, and heart-warming illustrations that couple them perfectly. Bloom’s depiction of Bear and Goose are wonderful and expressive, and each illustration captures the mood of the story in a way that is both heartwarming and familiar.
The Layout: The layout of the story is simple and traditional, with only one or two lines per page, written in large text which makes this story a wonderful selection for reading aloud. Bright, charming illustrations tell much of the story, making each page one to be lingered on and enjoyed. It is especially appealing to younger children.
The Message: Bear and Goose are very different, and sometimes it can make for a rather difficult situation, but throughout the story we begin to discover that although Bear appears irritated, deep down he enjoys the company of the friendly Goose. Together the pair proves that despite differences, there is an opportunity to be “splendid friends, indeed.” This story embraces the idea that friendships don’t have to be perfect, and that sometimes, they require patience. It is perfect for any child that is experiencing sibling rivalry. This message helped A Splendid Friend, Indeed make the UKLA's shortlist of books up for awards this year.
My Only Issue: It would be great if the story were available in e-book format. I believe that the layout of the story would translate beautifully to the digital platform.
Conclusion: This is a great story to read as a family, especially if your little ones tend to experience a bit of sibling rivalry. Buy A Splendid Friend, Indeed from Amazon, your favorite bookstore, or your local library, to share with the Bears and Geese in your life. Use the story as the beginning of a discussion about what it truly means to be a friend.