A better best friend by Oliver Tallec

cover image

Squirrel is looking for a friend and thinks he has found one in the mushroom in the woods. He sits with the mushroom, Pock and they do things together. He is a better friend than the pinecones which fall from the tree, a friend does not fall from the tree everyday, so a friend when one is found is precious. Squirrel hopefully thinks Pock may become his best friend.

They go for walks in the woods, sheltering under a leaf together when it rains, the little animal showing him all of his favourite places. They shelter together when the leaves fall from the trees, shiver together when snow falls. Pock does not say much but he is always ready to do what his friend does.

When spring arrives, so does a new friend, Moo. He too says very little. Moo shows them all of his favourite places, and they skip stones across the creek, watching the water go by. Squirrel is in a quandary: Moo is good at skipping stones, much better than Pock, while Pock loves the things that he likes, sheltering under a leaf and watching the snow fall. The next morning Gunther arrives, and the problem is solved. He doesn’t say much but the four can all be friends.

This lovely book will be invaluable when younger readers are experiencing problems with their friendship groups. The book shows how we all love to have a friend  and a best friend may be the solution but a number of different friends will make a difference. Children will love reading of the solution to the problem and laugh along with the author at the last page.

They will breathe in the woods where these little animals and the mushroom live, noting the variety of plants and trees, enjoying the outdoors.

I love the way Tallec shows the different expressions ad emotions of the group, using a range of eye movements to signify what each is feeling.

A humorous tale dealing with a concern many children have, this book offers a solution in a gentle way, showing them what friends do together, how one friend may offer different experiences tham another, and that friends need to be together to nurture their friendship.

Themes: Friendship, Loneliness, Humour, Picture book.

Fran Knight