You Are Not My Friend, but I Miss You

Daniel Kirk. Abrams, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4197-1236-4
Dog swipes Monkey’s red ball, and Monkey (who is actually a sock monkey with a tuft of red yarn for hair) decides that they’re through. After all, Monkey says, “Friends are supposed to share,” although from the looks of the spot illustrations that accompany this declaration of principles, Monkey’s idea of sharing is not very generous (whether the duo are snacking, teeter-tottering, or reading, Monkey also keeps the ball to himself). But never mind that, or as Monkey says in a moment of high dudgeon, “HAH!” Dog is obviously a bad friend, and Monkey has two perfectly good alternatives: find a new friend or play by himself. Kirk (the Library Mouse series) knows children’s sense of injustice, entitlement, and egocentrism like the back of his hand. His frequent use of bold, large-scale drawing captures Monkey’s equally outsize temperament, while the emphatic, minimal text is subtly poignant and supremely performable, with lots of typographic cues to pout, shout, and (finally) reconcile after Monkey realizes that, just maybe, “I wasn’t a good friend.” Ages 4–8. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/16/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
Genre: Children's
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