“Friends Wanted” reads the sign that Elmore, a self-sufficient but solitary porcupine, posts in the woods. There are no takers—everyone is scared of his quills. “I’m your friend,” says his elderly uncle. “That’s different,” replies Elmore in an exchange that should resonate with any children familiar with the attempted consolations of adults. When Elmore’s uncle insists that his quills are “beautiful” and define who he is, Elmore is inspired. He realizes that his “troublesome quills” make great pens, and in what Hobbie (A Cat Named Swan) wryly refers to as “the quill event,” he gives away bundles of them to everyone in the forest. Elmore is neither needy nor pathetic; in fact, he emphasizes that the quills are “100% real porcupine quills” and reminds the other animals, “Everyone loves getting a note from a friend.” After having fun writing with Elmore’s once-feared quills, the animals see him in a new way. Hobbie’s story is proffered with a light touch, a full heart, breezily charming artwork, and an ingenious protagonist. And her lesson never loses its profundity: being appreciated by others starts with appreciating oneself. Ages 3–7. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/2017 Release date: 01/30/2018 Genre: Children's
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