- Friends by Eric Carle
A little boy and little girl are best friends, until the girl moves away. The boy decides to look for her, swimming a river, climbing a mountain, crossing a meadow, and so on until he finds her: “Together they played and ran and danced and told each other secrets … and got married.” The simplicity and imagination of this story make it accessible for young children, and there’s an appealing pattern to the different sound effects on each spread of the boy’s journey (“Then all of a sudden, it began to rain. Splish! Splash! He had to dash through the falling drops”). The overall voyage is contrived, however, and the abrupt wedding is an odd and unnecessary conclusion. Carle’s trademark painted tissue-paper collage is bold and bright, and the childlike compositions and simple painting techniques offer possibilities for imitation to youngsters, while the large, crisp illustrations will be easy to share with a large group. An author’s note explains the inspiration for the story: Carle left behind a dear female friend when he moved from the U.S. to Germany at age six, and that he often wonders what became of her. Despite its shortcomings, this is a pleasant look at the power of childhood friendship; it might work well in a preschool storytime about friends or one focused on the works of Eric Carle.