Review of Best Frints in 
the Whole Universe

portis_best frints in the whole universestar2 Best Frints in the Whole Universe
by Antoinette Portis; 
illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    40 pp.
7/16    978-1-62672-136-4    $16.99    g

Space aliens Yelfred (the purple one) and Omek (the pink one) “have been best frints since they were little blobbies.” Like any friendship, theirs has its ups and downs, but they always muddle through. Things come to a head, though, when Yelfred receives a new spaceship as a blurfday gift. Omek takes it for a test drive without permission and crashes it (“It was that way when I got it!” tries Omek). An angry battle of words (“YOU SHMACKLED MY SPOSSIP, you double-dirt bleebo!”) and teeth (Yelfred bites off Omek’s tail) ensues. But, as the offstage narrator assures us, best frints can’t stay angry for long — either on planet Boborp or here on Earth. The text makes frequent comparisons throughout between Earth and Boborp, with the differences being in the details (biting off tails) but not in the important stuff (friends play, they fight, they make up). Portis’s text plays it straight — no small feat with all those near-nonsense words — with a clear-eyed, anthropological-sounding reserve that is effective in warding off didacticism. Her digitally colored mixed-media illustrations feature simple shapes — lots of circles and triangles — vivid hues, thick black lines, and pop art–like textures. The front and back endpapers are a photo-glossary of Boborpian words, sure to tickle listeners (and readers-aloud; just try to say “blobbysit” with a straight face).

From the May/June 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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