Friends Beyond Measure

HarperCollins. Feb. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780063210523.
Gr 1-3–Ana and Harwin become best buds the day they meet. As in many friendships, theirs is full of adventure, imaginative play, and occasional disagreements. And as with many childhood friendships, they are certain theirs will last forever—until Harwin tells Ana her family is moving away. This sweet story is buoyed by colorful illustrations and a different chart or diagram on each page. For instance, a map of play activities at Ana’s house shows that Harlow spent five hours trying to run up the crooked tree (Ana only spent one). A flow chart Ana creates for whether she can pack herself in Harlow’s suitcase ends by asking, “Do I like breathing?” and concludes that she cannot, in fact, stow away. While so many diagrams could easily make the book feel cluttered, Fisher smartly uses color to delineate diagram parts and occasionally renders the background in a soft gray and white to allow the charts to stand out. Teachers will enjoy this as an easily accessible introduction to many types of charts. The first page, for instance, shows a pictorial Venn diagram of what the girls have in common. The details in the various charts reward close reading with laughable details that further highlight the girls’ distinct personalities. Back matter explains the types of charts used in the book, including Venn diagrams, maps, time lines, bar charts, flow charts, and more.
VERDICT A uniquely told story that will delight all readers. Highly recommended.

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