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Be a Friend Hardcover – January 5, 2016
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From School Library Journal
PreS-K—A lonely little mime finds a friend in this charmingly illustrated work by the author of Found (2014) and Penguin and Pinecone (2012, both Bloomsbury). Beginning on the end pages, readers are introduced to the silent pantomime routines of Dennis, "an ordinary boy…who expressed himself in EXTRAORDINARY ways." Donning a black-and-white striped shirt with a pinned-on heart, an enormous black top hat, white gloves, and face paint, Dennis speaks not a single word (even in school), instead miming during show and tell. Later on the playground, while the other kids skip rope, climb trees, or play ball, Dennis pretends. But the miniature mime soon feels lonely and invisible, "as if he were standing on the other side of a wall." When an observant little girl catches his make-believe ball, the two discover that friends need not speak a word in order to communicate and connect. The themes of individuality and acceptance are familiar picture book territory; it's the art and design that truly shine in this work—in fact, the story can easily be interpreted by pre-readers through the pictures alone. In a departure from the black-lined and thickly applied paints she has used in previous books, here Yoon displays a light and graceful line, delicate penciled shadows, a subdued palette, and thoughtful visual touches. Cleverly, Yoon employs dashed red lines to show viewers the "invisible" objects Dennis uses in his performances, such as a rope, a box, and a bicycle. A spread with four vignettes, each contained in a vintage photo-style frame, lend the book a warm and nostalgic feel. VERDICT Delightful artwork buoys this quiet celebration of imagination, uniqueness, and friendship.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal
"Gorgeous and profoundly moving, Be A Friend was an instant favorite with me and daughter. Salina Yoon has created a picture book that my family will keep going back to time and again." - Nicola Yoon, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of EVERYTHING EVERYTHING
"Yoon, no stranger to odd-couple friendships . . . has changed tactics, creating a story about two people who just happen to see the world in a complementary way . . . Refreshingly, this story is not about overcoming shy or unusual behavior: no one ever makes Dennis speak, and no one teases him for the way he chooses to express himself. A sweet, visually striking story of friendship and acceptance." - starred review, Booklist
"This heartwarming book describes what it takes to be a friend . . . A wonderful book to use to encourage students to be themselves, to acknowledge that people are different, to introduce inferencing, to discuss disabilities, and to understand what it means to be a friend. Highly recommended." - School Library Connection
"It’s the art and design that truly shine in this work--in fact, the story can easily be interpreted by pre-readers through the pictures alone . . . Warm and nostalgic . . . Delightful artwork buoys this quiet celebration of imagination, uniqueness, and friendship." - School Library Journal
"A launchpad for discussions of individuality. Yoon's lively illustrations will encourage young readers to mime along with Dennis. Her use of red dotted lines to depict each pantomime will allow children to fill in the blanks using their imaginations. Adults will enjoy her eye for details, including a poster of Marcel Marceau in Dennis' wardrobe. A delightful story about the celebration of individuality and friendship." - Kirkus Reviews
"This comforting story successfully addresses the common fear of storms for a young audience . . . The storm's impact has no lasting power against a family's love." - School Library Journal on STORMY NIGHT
"A thoughtful, flawlessly executed exploration of theory of mind and emotional intelligence." - starred review, Publishers Weekly on FOUND
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Top Customer Reviews
What does it take to be a friend? Readers of this book will discover that it really begins with face to face interactions and this may serve as a reminder to build friendships by understanding each other. This story is all about honoring unique differences between individuals and being able to accept them as they are.
This book will be perfect in any friendship unit and is worthy of multiple reads in order to mine the understanding present in the gorgeous pictures that add additional depth to the storyline!
Ms. Yoon has a knack for creating stories that emotionally connect with children and are also simplistic and charming in their excution. The subdued color palette with red accents is eye-catching and plays well with the short text. One of my favorite parts of the story is the title “BE A FRIEND”, what a subtle and perfect way to get kids to remember to be ‘that friend’ to someone else.
This is a good book for pre-school thru KG classroom storytime or lap-reading at home.
I've always said that the best kind of people are the ones that you can have a comfortable silence with. Most people want to talk and think that silence is awkward but I couldn't disagree more. It may just be the introvert in me but I've always found that actions speak louder than words!
Be A Friend is a beautifully illustrated story with a straightforward message. Be a friend. Everyone needs a friend no matter how 'strange' they may seem. Be a friend and you will soon see that everyone is extraordinary.
I love this book. The rich, warm, colors pair beautifully with the grungy, antiqued coloring of each page. I love the diversity of the children in the book and their bright, happy faces. The red dashed lines really pop and depict Dennis' actions, giving us a look into his own personal thoughts and world.
This is a beautiful book and I highly recommend it!
Dennis expresses himself through mime. While other children talk with friends and play with toys, Dennis uses his imagination for amusement. Over time, Dennis becomes lonely and is thrilled to meet another child who shares his passion for mime.
Yoon’s use of brown paper and the color red are inventive additions to her already appealing illustrations. Children will enjoy the illustrator’s nod to Marcel Marceau woven throughout the book.
Librarians will find this quiet picture book to be an effective tool in talking to children about individual differences, courage, and self-acceptance.
To learn about the author, go to [...]
Published by Bloomsbury on January 5, 2016. ARC Courtesy of the publisher.
"Dennis was an ordinary boy... who expressed himself in extraordinary ways."
He doesn't talk- but instead is quite the expressive mime. Though he doesn't get bullied or specifically alienated in any way from his peers it is clear that he has trouble communicating with him and thus feels lonely. One day though, that all changes and an unexpected friend breaks through his "wall" and he forms a genuine, wonderful friendship.
The story is simple and sweet and perfect for any child who sometimes feels a little lonely. I also love how several mime scenes are "acted out" using dotted red lines as motion indicators. I thought that was a unique and fun touch, and would be a nice activity for children to try and act out themselves.