cover image My Best Friend

My Best Friend

Julie Fogliano, illus. by Jillian Tamaki. Atheneum, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5344-2722-8

“I have a new friend/ and her hair is black/ and it shines/ and it shines/ and she always laughs at everything.” Fogliano (Just in Case You Want to Fly) captures the feeling of giddy infatuation when a child first meets another and feels an instant bond—it’s an early form of falling in love. The speaker is a wide-eyed girl with a red ponytail; the new friend wears round glasses and a delighted look. “She is so smart,” the speaker confides—she can strip a leaf down to make a “skeleton hand,” and weaves together the stems of trodden-on flowers so they don’t look so smashed (“she helps me fix them/ sort of”). Swinging, dancing in dizzy spirals, and games of chase lead to a string of new discoveries (“she is my best friend/ i think/ i’ve never had a best friend,” the girl confides, “so i’m not sure”). Rust and olive vignettes by Tamaki (They Say Blue) burst with energy that seems boundless, and closer inspection reveals elegantly controlled draftsmanship portraying muffled laughter and scribbled chalk lines. Young children have big feelings, and discovering someone their own age who adores them back is an event worth celebrating. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.) [/em]