Walter Had a Best Friend

Beach Lane/S. & S./. Oct. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534477001.
PreS-Gr 2–A simple story about friendship and loss, this book beautifully captures the end of the friendship between Walter and his duck friend, Xavier. It brings so much fulfillment to Walter’s life, until Penelope the porcupine comes along. Xavier and Penelope become inseparable, and Walter becomes lonely and sad. But rather than moping around forever, Walter decides to embrace his new independence, move on, and find beauty in life on his own. In doing so, he meets Ollie, a badger who shares his love of hiking. Ruzzier’s delicate pastel illustrations complement the text nicely as Walter learns to enjoy life again. Muted greens, pinks, and blues dominate the pages and prove to be not only very appealing to the eye, but an appropriate balance with the author’s words.
VERDICT An excellent book for a simple read-aloud in a primary setting or as an independent choice for a beginning reader. Some friendships do not last forever, it is okay to fly solo, and new friendships come when you least expect them; these are comforting and relatable lessons for any child struggling with loss or change.

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