Review of Friends and Foes: Poems About Us All

Friends and Foes: Poems About Us All
by Douglas Florian; illus. by the author
Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp.
7/18    978-1-4424-8795-6    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-4424-8796-3    $10.99

This collection of twenty-five poems teases out many of friendship’s fundamentals, as well as its more nuanced complexities. Along with jealousy, bullies, and new and imaginary friends, the punchy rhymes tackle topics such as betrayal, a friend moving away, and two friends growing apart. “We used to be friends. / We drifted away. / Will we get back together? / Well, maybe someday.” The colored-pencil and crayon illustrations on manila paper help keep the mood bright, but also appropriately imperfect and rough. While the poetry vacillates from serious to silly, the tone remains comforting and affirming throughout. A couple of the poems are written explicitly for two voices to read together, but many are well suited for self-reflection. Those exploring the verses will likely recognize aspects of their own friendship dynamics and may find needed humor and also some solace in their discoveries.

From the September/October 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Julie Roach
Julie Roach

Julie Roach, chair of the 2020 Caldecott Committee, manages youth services at the Cambridge Public Library in Massachusetts. She also teaches children’s literature at Simmons University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science and at Lesley University.

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