cover image Will You Be My Friend?

Will You Be My Friend?

Sam McBratney, illus. by Anita Jeram. Candlewick, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1747-6

Twenty-five years after publishing evergreen bestseller Guess How Much I Love You, the collaborators offer a similarly resonant sequel in which Little Nutbrown Hare goes exploring alone when Big Nutbrown Hare is preoccupied. “You’re only another me!” he tells his reflection and his shadow before continuing his quest to find “someone real.” Before long, he encounters a snow-white hare, Tipps, who asks Little Nutbrown the titular question. The two bond instantly and silently frolic together on a bucolic mountainside, until a game of hide-and-seek leaves both bunnies unfound and Little Nutbrown Hare stalwartly scurries home, unaware that someone special is following him. McBratney’s strategically spare narrative leaves ample space for children to personalize the tale, whose affecting affirmation of independence and friendship plays out with corresponding authenticity in Jeram’s airy ink and watercolor paintings. Ages 3–7. [em](Sept.) [/em]