Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Picture Book Review: We are (Not) Friends by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant

We are (Not) Friends by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant. You are not small series. unpgd. Two Lions/ Amazon Publishing, May 1, 2019. 9781542044288. (Review of finished copy courtesy of publicist.)

Oh! The dress-up trunk! Such wonders and potential adventures it holds. Our two best pals are back and about to play dress-up when an interloper asks, "Can I play with you?" Such an innocuous question, so fraught with emotion. 

Triangles are so sturdy aren't they? Friendship triangles? Not so much. Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant present yet another gem. Fans of the Geisel Award winning, You are (Not) Small, That's (Not) Mine and I am (Not) Scared will not be disappointed. Big Bear (Brown Bear?) and Little Bear (Purple Bear?) are back and about to dig into the dress-up trunk when Blue Rabbit (Medium Rabbit?) changes the dynamic. How many friendship boats have been rocked with the very question, "Can I play with you?"  

I have much love for this wife/ husband dynamic duo. They tap into universal childhood dilemmas with a fine ear and eye. Young readers will inevitably see themselves in each scenario and learn to build empathy in the best possible way. Minimalist text, generous white space and telling expressions depict a childhood rite-of-passage in a gently humorous, non-judgmental way allowing young readers to draw their own conclusions.

The entire series belongs in every kind of library. I envision a boxed set that would be perfect baby gifts. Visit the author's website and/ or the illustrator's website for extra information about all their books!

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