Will You Be My Friend?

Andersen. Sept. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781728438931.
PreS-K–There are variations of this question-and-answer journey for a friend, but Ayto’s cheerful illustrations in crayon-bright colors make this one particularly charming. Bush Baby, as small and sweet as a black-and-white kitten, approaches Giraffe, who pronounces Bush Baby “too small.” Then Bush Baby tries Toad, Zebra, Snake, Flamingo, and they all cite the differences that divide them. Only Lion, who has no friends because everyone fears him, makes Bush Baby feel just right. This book will lead to lively story hours: Does Lion eat all the others who have decided to be friendly after all? Or does he just scare them off, and is that good behavior? Discuss.
VERDICT The lessons of the book are questionable but the pursuit of friendship is an evergreen topic. Include this on the preschool shelves.

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