Be A Friend
Written by Salina Yoon
Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2016, Ages 3-6
The book Be A Friend, is about a young boy named Dennis who expressed himself in a very unique way when compared to others. Everyone called him ‘Mime Boy’ because he dressed like a mime and never spoke a word! He would only act out how he was feeling or what he was thinking. However, not many people understood him which left him lonely at times- he felt invisible. That was until a girl named Joy showed Dennis that he was not invisible and she saw the world the same way he did. They never spoke a word, but were still able to develop a friendship just like everyone else.
It is obvious when you read this book that it was written for children. The author uses short and simple sentences while still being descriptive and getting her point across. She keeps the story very engaging by using descriptive words and keeping readers interested by leaving sentences unfinished from one page to the next. For example, on one page it reads “Dennis was an ordinary boy…” and then on the next it finishes with, “…who expressed himself in extraordinary ways.” In addition to all of this, the author also chooses words on each page and puts them in bold and capitalizes all of the letters in them for emphasis as well. For example, on one page it reads “Dennis didn’t speak a word. He would only ACT- in scenes.” All of these techniques that the author is using is a way to enhance the experience for the readers learning.
With this being a picture book, the illustrations is the most important element. The illustrations take up the entire page and show Dennis acting out his different thoughts and scenes. Throughout the entire story the illustrations are very detailed and colorful which only makes the story stronger in all aspects. The pictures are so colorful and bold and show so much detail that it’s hard not to fall in love with the story when paired with the illustrations. Everyone in these pictures are so happy- including Dennis once he meets Joy, which shows children that it’s important to accept others- even if they are a little different than you.
I would definitely recommend Be A Friend for children or teachers for their classroom. This is a great story that will teach children a very important lesson- accepting others. This lesson is perfect for children at this age considering how they will be working on forming relationships with others and how important it is for them to have friendships with children their age. Not only is the text and theme of this story great, but the illustrations are also fun, wonderfully made and help to keep children engaged in the story. The pictures are colorful and go along perfectly with the text so that readers know exactly what is happening throughout the story. I would definitely use this book in my future classroom to show my students and any other teacher should as well- it would be a perfect addition to any classroom.
Reviewed by Emily Ervin