Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top 10 Picture Books about Friendship

I haven't been able to do a Top 10 list lately and thought I better squeeze some in before I get too busy with Student Teaching in January. I love books about friendship. I always get warm feelings after reading this books, and so I wanted to share some of my picks with you.

1) Otis by Loren Long. I LOVE this book. The illustrations are so stunning I can't even stand it. Otis is a tractor who is friends with a baby calf. This is a story about their friendship and how as Otis attempts to be replaced on the farm they soon discover there are somethings only friendship can do. There is a second book called Otis and the Tornado. It is wonderful too.

2) Pete and Pickles by Berkeley Breathed. This is one of my favorite books of all time. I love the author (creator of the Opus comic) and this story is so heartwarming it will leave you gasping. Pickles is a circus elephant trying to escape a bad situation only to discover Peter, a lonely pig. Pete recently lost his love and is holding on to her memory. After resisting he finally lets Pickles into his life and their friendship and love is boundless. Be warned there is what appears to be an extremely sad climatic moment that may be too emotional for wee little ones. However, it has a happy ending and the adult romantics in us will love this book. Oh, and there is some cool introductions to some famous works of art so pay attention to the illustrations.

3) Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend by Melanie Watt: If you haven't read any of the Scaredy Squirrel books you should. They are funny and a little out of the norm in the way the are written-which appeal to kids. Scaredy Squirrel lives up to his name. He is afraid of everything so he always tells you all the ridiculous things he is afraid will happen and all his emergency preparedness plan to prevent those things from happening. However, nothing goes the way he intends and in this story it is a good thing because he finally gets to have a friend. These books plain fun and cute. P.S. I love everything Melanie Watt does and her Chester books are a riot!

4)Big Al by Andrew Clements: Al is the nicest most sweetest fish in the sea, but no one knows that because he is also the ugliest fish in the sea. Of course, he gets a chance to prove himself and the other fish are forced to look beyond his appearance. Very sweet story. Have your child look at the inside over pages in the front and back after the story and talk about the differences in the pictures for some comprehension questions. There is a second book with Big Al in it but I haven't read it yet.

5) Friends by Helme Heine: These farm animals are the best of friends and do all sorts of things together. They are always working together as a team and lend a helping hand. When bedtime comes they have to be apart, but no worries they can see each other in their dreams. This book is really appropriate for your preschool age children or early elementary. A sweet, simple tale.

6) Enemy Pie by Derek Munson: This is a truly important tale to share with your kiddos. Some times we have people that don't act like friends, in fact they can be enemies. What do we do then? This boy asks his Dad to make his enemy pie, which his Dad agrees to on the condition that he has to spend the day with his enemy while he bakes it. At first he is giddy imagining all the awful ingredients Dad is throwing in, but by the end of the day he realizes he actually likes his enemy. Oh no! This is a great book about being kind to your enemies and you may just make friends out of the process. Great for elementary kiddos.

7) Farfallina and Marcel by Holly Keller: A baby gosling and caterpillar become fast friends but when nature calls they must part. They don't understand the separation and saddened  by the loss of their friend. As they get older and change they meet new friends who remind them of their long lost pal. Wait, it is their long last pal, put it took them awhile to recognize one another. I love confusion that they felt. Something most books don't cover but a really realistic side to things. A great way to have some deep discussions with your children.

8)Swimmy by Leo Lionni: This is a classic tale about a guppy that was born black when the rest of his siblings are red (diversity tie-in). He is faster than his family and is able to out swim big fish, all though his family isn't as lucky. Quickly he finds a new school to join and he helps them to band together to appear like one giant fish fight the larger fish of the sea. Being different is great and has it's advantages and if you stick together we can fight off anything. Bonus: Read with Big AL and compare the two fish stories. Better yet watch Finding Nemo and see if your child can build the connections as well.

9) Square Cat by Elizabeth Schoonmaker: This is a newer book and I got it fully expecting it to be kind of lame (can you say-judge a book by it's cover). I loved it! The square cat is sad and confused why he is different from all his round friends. However, his wonderful friends make him feel accepted and special. I highly recommend this book and expect it to become quite popular as people catch on to it.

10) Gerald and Piggie series by Mo Willems: This series is about the best example of best friends ever. This duo is so smitten with each other and their escapades are recorded in numerous books. Mo Willems is a children book genius (he also writes the Don't Let the Pigeon books). He has this knack of writing as if he is speaking directly to children. I have done these for read-alouds to huge crowds and they never disappoint. Really delve into the characters and get crazy with them. Your child will be giggling non-stop.  Some of my favorites: Watch Me Throw a Ball, Can I Play too?,Listen to my trumpet, and There is a Bird on Your Head. They are all superb though, read them all...no seriously do it :0)


  1. This is such a great list. I also love Pete & Pickles!

  2. OMGosh, we haven't read ANY of these, Sarah!! (Where have I been?!?) Apparently, I have a whole new list of books to get on my next trip to the library. Thank you!!!

  3. A Square Delight!

    Thank you!

    Your friend,

    Eula Square Cat

    Square Cat
    Aladdin Books

  4. Elizabeth-Are you kidding me. I can't believe the author of one of the books I mentioned commented on my little old blog. I feel so privileged! Elizbeth I really do love the book and think it is going to be a great success for you. I wish all the luck!

  5. Ya! I am happy people actually use the list to check out books. Tell me if you like my choices.

  6. I love your little old blog! Thank you for your kind wishes. Eula sends her square best...