A Real Friend

Clavis. Nov. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781605375823.
PreS-Gr 2–Benny (who has white skin with straight red hair and freckles) and Max (who has brown skin and curly black hair) are best friends. Then Max starts to annoy Benny. Max always takes an extra long turn playing Alien Invaders, and he always gets to be the one to hide while Benny seeks. Worst of all, Benny always gets stuck with peanut butter and jelly for lunch when Max is over. One day, after a blowup, they decide they are no longer best friends. Benny builds a new friend from a cardboard box here, a yo-yo there, an empty bucket here, and a pair of gloves. Benny stacks, glues, and tapes his new best friend, Jax, to perfection: Benny never has to wait his turn to play Alien Invaders, he gets to hide every time they play hide-and-seek, and he always gets to choose what they eat for lunch. But after a while, this new life with Jax becomes a little bit boring, and Benny realizes just how much he misses playing with Max. Abbot’s illustrations in acrylic, collage, colored pencils, and digital media pair well with Wolfthal’s text to bring this tale about friendship to the page.
VERDICT A well-told, relatable story about friendship, fighting, and making up for children everywhere.

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