cover image Friends


Eric Carle. Philomel, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-16533-7

A boy and a girl are fast friends: “Together they played and ran and danced and told each other secrets.” When she moves away, the boy “took a deep breath, counted to ten,” and sets out on an arduous journey to reunite with her. Using the hand-painted tissue paper collages that have been his signature for nearly five decades, Carle (The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse) composes the core of the book impressionistically, employing the boy’s literal and emotional viewpoints (while leaving the boy himself entirely unseen) as he crosses a wide river and a tall mountain, sleeps beneath skies filled with stars and clouds, and tries to remain steadfast in a forest, where “Dark shadows danced around him. E-e-e-k!” The images are beautiful and evocative, but there may not be enough in this story to hold every reader. Although the boy reappears in the final pages (he emerges from a flower garden bearing a bouquet for the girl, whom he marries), very young readers may wonder where he went, while older ones may yearn to see him in action. Ages 3–5. (Nov.)