Review of Ways to Make Friends

Ways to Make Friends Ways to Make Friends
by Jairo Buitrago ; illus. by Mariana Ruiz Johnson ; trans. from Spanish by Elisa Amado
Preschool, Primary    Aldana Libros/Greystone Kids    40 pp.       g
8/22     978-1-77164-975-9     $18.95
e-book ed.  978-1-77164-976-6    $18.95

In this eccentric volume, Buitrago and Johnson provide suggestions addressing the titular theme. A guileless, wide-eyed frog in black coveralls performs each of the actions, some being generally straightforward (“Sit on a park bench and cut out paper dolls. Leave them as presents all over the place”) and ­others more s­ituational (“When you are at your aunt’s house, you can free a bird,” i.e., her pet. “It will always remember you”). ­Cheerful ­optimism abounds, with occasional welcome hints of pragmatism: “If you find a bee splashing in a fountain, help it out…If it gets angry…just run away. Anyway, what friend doesn’t get cranky sometimes?” Every creatively interpreted spread, in subdued hues with rounded shapes and tidy black outlines, is chock-full of friendly-looking, personality-filled creatures of many different species—potential pals, all. And introverts, take heart. The best and most self-empowering advice for those who find themselves depleted after a long day of socializing appears at the end: “But if by late afternoon you get tired of making friends, just be by yourself and forget ­everything that this book has told you to do…learn to be your own best friend.”

From the November/December 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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