cover image How to Be a Friend

How to Be a Friend

Laurie Krasny Brown, Laurene Krasny Brown, Chopra. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-10913-0

Though several of their earlier Dino Life Guides for Families have dealt with issues that are ostensibly weightier (death, divorce), the Browns are clearly tuned in to children's universal belief that having friends and feeling included are matters of paramount importance. Here they offer common-sense advice to help preschoolers and early elementary students form social habits that will serve them well in subsequent years, when relationships with peers can be so much more complicated and potentially unsettling. Concrete examples, addressed directly to the reader and cheerfully illustrated with voice-bubble cartoons starring likable dinos, make both positive and negative concepts easy to grasp. The Browns balance ""Ways to be a friend"" (share, stand up for your pal when people make fun of him, go along with another's idea about what to play, compliment a playmate ""even when she wins and you lose"") with ""Ways not to be a friend"" (blame others for mishaps, quit when you're losing, insist that a friend play with you only). Spotlighting some unavoidable trouble spots, they impart valuable tactics for coping with rejection, shyness, arguments, etc. Text and art work well together to underscore the book's bottom line, that being a friend ""means treating others the way you would like them to treat you!"" Ages 4-8. (Sept.)