This Book Is My Best Friend

S. & S. Jan. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781665906814.
K-Gr 3–Two children with enormous stresses in their lives—the brown-skinned black-haired child has an elderly daadi with a long gray braid who seems to have her hands full plus new twin siblings at home, and the lighter-skinned redhead has a mother hooked up to machines in a hospital bed—bicker politely over a book, Factory Friends, about robots that they both declare is their “best friend.” They can each back it up with wonderful reasoning; they both offer the other decent substitutes. Continuing glimpses of their home lives show readers why this one book is so exceptionally important. Robinson, in words and art, shows the children taking apart just how the book makes them feel, and through communication, they discover that the friendship at the heart of the book is something they can share in real life. This sigh-worthy ending is one that every reader will cheer for, and the illustrations, showing absolute wall after wall of bookshelves, are an endless delight.
VERDICT The comfort of books is well known but perhaps never tackled so resolutely. The children here are relatable and never precocious, keeping the argument civilized, sincere, and for readers, too, win-win.

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