Very Special Friends

2012. 26p. 978-1-56148-874-6. 16.99.
PreS-Gr 2–Mouse sets up a spot for waiting on the riverbank. Eventually, Rabbit happens along and asks Mouse what she is waiting for. She confides that she’s waiting for her Special Friends. As Frog and then Turtle join them, the time passes by, full of the lazy anticipation of a summer day. The animals sit, eat, rest, and play while maintaining their vigil along the riverbank. Finally, the day is over and Mouse packs up to go. It turns out that the Special Friends have been there all along. This picture book is full of the feeling of summer and friendship. The words set the stage, but the illustrations are still the focus here. The paintings are lush and evocative. Readers can almost hear the bees buzzing and feel the cool grass underneath their feet. The river burbles along in the background. Everything works together to give a strong sensory image to the lazy day. As more of Mouse’s friends gather on the bank, readers will begin to wonder who the Very Special Friends are. But as Mouse knowingly tells them, “Who could be more special than you?” Don’t just keep this one for summer reading–enjoy Mouse and her friends all year long.–Susan E. Murray, formerly at Glendale Public Library, AZ

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