cover image How to Make a Friend

How to Make a Friend

Stephen W. Martin, illus. by Olivia Aserr. Clarion, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-328-63184-8

Martin offers a wry guide to friend making—literally, “with the right power tools and a basic understanding of Advanced Robotics, it’s easy!” Vintage animation–style art by Aserr, which will appeal to fans of Big Hero 6, depicts a dark-haired, light brown–skinned child as they check out a manual from the library and weld a towering yellow robot in their secret lab. Subsequent friendship activities including tea parties and tree house building go as planned, though hopscotch and water balloon fights prove troublesome (“Ah, wait... Water fights are not a good idea,” one rounded panel reads, as the robot short-circuits). Genuine advice parallels speculative art—“Don’t be alarmed or upset if your friend decides to make some other friends,” one spread reads, before the images show the child stopping their friend from leading a robot army rebellion. A clever self-help parody bolstered by real-life-applicable advice.