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The Children's Bookshelf: The Friendship Book

The Friendship Book written by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin is a celebration of friendship in all its stages of blossoming from looking for a friend, finding a friend and feeling friendship’s warmth. As the author says, “as some small knowing grows, you start feeling that feeling that comes with having a friend----as if there’s sunshine in your pocket or inside you.”

The poetic lines and beautiful illustrations capture the loveliness of friendship with a cast of human characters, both children and some adults, as well as those from the animal kingdom including a hedgehog, a skunk, a dog, a cat, a turtle, a snail,  brown bears and a panda. The illustrations show that friends come in all shapes, colors and sizes.

There are four double paged spreads that are packed with visual details that support acts of friendship such as sharing a pencil on the first day of school, listening to a friend who is sad, bicycling, dancing and enjoying a picnic.

There is also a nod to what happens to friends when they don’t agree. The book acknowledges that this can happen. “And sometimes they get mad. But it doesn’t last. Because they’re friends.”

The Friendship Book written by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin is designed for children 4-7 years of age. This book is a perfect companion to the very popular The Thank You Book created by the same team last year. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019).

Activity Questions for The Friendship Book

Who is your best friend? When and where did you meet? What do you both like to do when you are together? What have you learned from this friendship? Remember all of the things the children and animal friends in this book did such as read, play board games, bike, talk, go to movies, dance, make wishes and have picnic. Now, draw a picture of you and your friend doing what you both enjoy when you are together.

Study the illustration of the hedgehog and the skunk outside the movie theatre. They seem to be having an argument. By looking at the illustration what do you think they are arguing about? How can you tell they are angry? How do they solve their problem? Have you and one of your friends ever gotten mad with each other about something? What was the argument about? How did you and your friend make up again?

Go to the illustration of the children having a picnic. What are they eating? What could they be talking about? Make up a little conversation between these friends. Have fun!