cover image A Friend Like Ed

A Friend Like Ed

Karen Wagner. Walker & Company, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-8662-3

This agreeable but predictable story counsels that true friendship is rare and that readers should accept their pals' idiosyncrasies. Prim brown mouse Mildred is a close companion of nerdy brown mouse Ed, whose too-short pants and round glasses make him an Erckel among rodents. Ed's button collection seems weird to Mildred, but ""no one could hold a candle to Ed's homemade, fudge-frosted, triple-layer cake. Or make Mildred laugh so hard her eyes would water."" Unfortunately, a rift develops when Ed takes up poetry. He rhymes at all times--at the dentist, at the library, at the supermarket--and the embarrassed Mildred seeks out a new best friend in a self-absorbed ice-skater. Wagner (Silly Fred) and Pedersen (A Weed Is a Seed) stick to convention in the text and watercolors. Wagner shows how badly Mildred and Ed miss one another when they're apart, and Pedersen draws the duo as gawky, bipedal mice who look like skinny humans but for their egg-shaped heads, donutlike ears and simian tails. Ed's nice, but utterly unsurprising. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)