cover image The Buddy Bench

The Buddy Bench

Patty Brozo, illus. by Mike Deas. Tilbury House, $17.95 (36p) ISBN 978-0-88448-697-8

Miss Mellon’s class is eager for recess, but on the playground, some children are left out. “Molly said to Brianne, ‘Let’s play follow the leader.’ They walked right by Emma but just didn’t see her,” writes Brozo. But kind individuals do notice their peers watching from the sidelines, and after a number of kids express anxieties (ranging from being new to having holey clothes), the students decide to make a “Buddy Bench,” where classmates can sit to let others know that they want to make friends. Deas illustrates inky figures energetically engaged in playground activities, along with fantasy play characters (a pink dinosaur, a blue elephant). The students’ self-guided innovation is idealistic, but kids who recognize themselves in the playground scenario may well take the sentiment to heart. Back matter offers context about the growth of buddy benches around the world. Ages 5–10. [em](Aug.) [/em]