This week for Perfect Picture Book Friday I’m featuring the deceptively simple THE FRIEND SHIP.
Title: The Friend Ship
Written by: Kat Yeh
Illustrated by: Chuck Groenink
Disney Hyperion, 2016, fiction
For ages: 3 and up
Themes/topics: friendship, hedgehogs, ships, adventure/quest
Hedgehog was curled up in a prickly little ball in the lonely nook of a lonely little tree when she heard someone say her name.
“Poor Hedgehog seems so lonely!”
“I know, but it will get better. Friendship is out there—all she has to do is look.”
Summary (from the copyright page):
“A lonely hedgehog sets out on an adventure to find friendship.”
Why I like this book:
As a kid, I was constantly taking things “too literally.” And so I totally related when Hedgehog thought “friendship” meant a literal “Friend Ship” she could sail “the seas in search of.”
The story follows a simple and predictable pattern. As Hedgehog searches (by ship), she asks animals along the way, “Have you seen The Friend Ship?” They answer “no,” but beg to come along. Soon Hedgehog’s ship is full of animals in search of The Friend Ship. But as they continue searching, Hedgehog grows sad.
I think kids will get a kick out of finding the solution well before Hedgehog does, and there’s a sweet twist at the end (I won’t give it away!) that will surprise the adults, too.
Groenink’s charming illustrations convey a great deal of emotion and his animals radiate warmth.
This story is a sweet ode to the joys — expected and unexpected — of friendship.
(For a collection of picture book reviews, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s site: http://susannahill.com/for-teachers-and-parents/perfect-picture-books/.)