“It’s like symbiosis!” my 3-year-old daughter said, while we were taking a walk on the beach.
“Symbiosis?” I asked, shocked she knew about the concept. “What does that mean?”
It turns out, my girls had learned the term from the Disney Junior show, Octonauts. “It means when two animals are better together than they are apart,” her sister answered.
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Friends Stick Together
Even though my kiddos are all reading chapter books now, we still can’t get enough of all the sweet picture books available – whether new or classic titles. We actually done books as the kids grow out of them… except for picture books. Does your family collect them like we do? 🙂
A while ago, we covered some of our favorite modern picture book titles. One of those titles that we still read often is My Friend Maggie by Hannah E. Harrison; we’ve even gifted it to a few young family members, it’s so sweet. So when Penguin contacted us about Friends Stick Together, Harrison’s latest book, we were excited to check it out!
The first page of Friends Stick Together defines “symbiosis” in a way that’s not quite as easy to understand as the one my daughters had given years ago. The book goes on though, to tell the story of Rupert and Levi – a quiet rhino and a loud tickbird who form an unlikely friendship – accompanied by the charming illustrations we’ve come to expect from the author. Rupert likes “reading dictionaries, listening to classical overtures, and eating cucumber sandwiches with no crust.” Levi likes “corny jokes, armpit farts, and popping wheelies.
Much to Rupert’s chagrin, he finds himself stuck with Levi. It’s bad enough that Levi bugs Rupert… but he also makes it hard for Rupert to make other friends. Rupert wishes he could get rid of Levi, but would life be the same? Surely he wouldn’t miss him, right?
I admit, I was a little disappointed that the book didn’t really go anywhere with symbiosis; the inclusion of the definition (at both the beginning and the end of the book) felt like a little bit of a missed opportunity. That said, the book on its own is as lovely as My Friend Maggie – and my kids found it laugh-out-loud funny. I think this is one we’ll read again and again.
Check out these other books from Hannah E. Harrison. They all make great additions to your collection, or gifts for other picture book fans in your life!
Teachers and Homeschoolers – check out this adorable lesson plan from Hey Angeli. She also has great ides for other Hannah E. Harrison titles including Bernice Gets Carried Away and Extraordinary Jane.
Other Titles from Hannah E. Harrison
My Friend Maggie
From the publisher: Paula and Maggie have been friends forever. Paula thinks Maggie is the best—until mean girl Veronica says otherwise. Suddenly, Paula starts to notice that Maggie is big and clumsy, and her clothes are sort of snuggish. Rather than sticking up for Maggie, Paula ignores her old friend and plays with Veronica instead. Luckily, when Veronica turns on Paula, Maggie’s true colors shine through.
You’ve already read how sweet we find this one. It was our first introduction to Hannah E. Harrison, and probably still our favorite of her beautiful books.
Bernice Gets Carried Away
From the publisher: Bernice is having a truly rotten time at her friend’s birthday party. First, everyone else gets a piece of cake with a frosting rose. But not Bernice. Then, everyone else gets strawberry-melon soda. Bernice gets the prune-grapefruit juice. And it’s warm. The last straw is the one lousy (squished) candy she gets from the piñata. So when the balloons arrive, Bernice knows just what she has to do: grab them all. And then, poor cross Bernice gets carried up, up, and away. Luckily, she figures out just how to make her way back down to the party…and she brightens lots of other animals’ days on her way.
Reminiscent of one of my favorite childhood books, Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Bernice is having one of those days to which we can all relate. Readers get to see how her day gets turned around though, and it’s truly delightful.
From the publisher: Jane is an ordinary dog in an extraordinary circus. She isn’t strong, graceful, or brave like her family. When she tries to be those things, Jane just doesn’t feel like herself, but she also doesn’t feel special. Is she really meant for this kind of life? Her Ringmaster thinks so, but not for the reasons Jane believes.
Extraordinary Jane is not a new title from Harrison, but when Penguin provided it to us this month it is the first time we’d read it; it definitely won’t be the last.
I truly think Hannah E. Harrison’s books are all destined to become classics. In addition to being some of the most beautifully illustrated books I’ve seen, she captures the importance of friendship in every single story – along with encouraging us to be ourselves, and be proud of who were were created to be.
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