cover image Will You Be My Friend?: A Bunny and Bird Story

Will You Be My Friend?: A Bunny and Bird Story

Nancy Tafuri. Scholastic, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-63782-4

In a departure from her previous books, which are aimed at very young children, Tafuri targets beginning readers with a lean yet evocative text. Bunny and Bird both make their homes in an apple tree, and Bunny loves to hear Bird sing, but they aren't friends--Bird is too shy. As is often the case in friendship stories, the two finally come together under duress: Bird's nest gets waterlogged in a fierce storm, and she seeks refuge in Bunny's hutch. The next day Bunny organizes all the forest creatures, and they create a cozy new home for their timid feathered friend. Bird is so moved that she finally sheds her shyness, and proudly sings ""a special song of thanks for her good friend Bunny."" Tafuri never belabors the emotional content: ""Bird felt much better now,"" she writes after Bird flees her nest. ""She was warm and dry. Bunny and Bird fell asleep on the soft, sweet grass."" However, those expecting the dynamic, painstakingly rendered nature scenes of Tafuri's recent titles (e.g., I Love You, Little One; Snowy Flowy Blowy) may be disappointed with the illustrations here: by comparison they are restrained, even subdued. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)