The Great Friend Expedition

HarperCollins/Clarion. (Sydney & Taylor: Bk. 3). Feb. 2022. 80p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780358386629.
Gr 2-4–Making new friends isn’t always easy—and sometimes it can be downright scary. Luckily, though, skunk Sydney and hedgehog Taylor have each other. In this third installment of the “Sydney & Taylor” series, Taylor expresses a desire to make new friends so that they can join him and Sydney for parties, picnics, and dances. A true introvert, Sydney hesitates, but when he realizes Taylor is anxious and lonely, he takes him out on a Great Friend Expedition to meet other animals. Cozy, colorful illustrations on every page tell the story of Sydney and Taylor’s trials and errors as they search for a circle of friends that gels when they least expect it. Text and illustrations both exude simplicity and childlike wonder, making this a charming tale that will resonate with children who could also find themselves stuck between extroversion and sudden shyness. Well paced and tightly structured, the book’s short chapters call back to previous titles in the series while allowing the story to stand on its own.
VERDICT A sweet, humorous story about the pleasures of home, family, and friendship that is reminiscent of the works of Cynthia Rylant and Arnold Lobel.

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