Grindley's (Breaking the Spell) sugary tale of friendship teeters precariously close to the precious. ""A friend is for playing,"" burly Jefferson Bear tells the curious fox, Figgy Twosocks, when she asks him the titular question. So they play hide-and-seek, and Figgy makes it easy for her buddy to find her when it becomes apparent that her nimbler, smaller physique has a clear advantage. Learning that ""A friend is for sharing,"" the fox then drags a large branch from a blackberry bush to the bear's side and feeds him berries. Their felicitous rapport hits a snag, but a reconciliation comes with mutual apologies and a reaffirmation of their friendship for, in JB's closing words, ""A friend is forever."" Dann's unadorned illustrations, reproduced on unusually sturdy coated stock, mirrors the story's sweet simplicity. Her depictions of the amiable pals' comically changeable facial expressions are the high point of this prosaic escapade. Ages 2-6. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/30/1998 Release date: 04/01/1998 Genre: Children's
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