Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Best Friendship Books of 2011

1. Noodle and Lou, by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Arthur Howard, Beach Lane Books,    $15.99, ages 2-6, 32 pages. Noodle the worm wakes up with a rain-cloudy heart and leans on his pal Lou, a blue jay, for cheering up.

2. Three By the Sea, by Mini Grey, Random House, $17.99, ages 4-8, 32 pages. A fox tricks friends Dog, Cat and Mouse into turning against each other. But will they see through his game and realize they were happy just the way things were?

3. Neville, by Norman Juster, illustrated by G. Brian Karas, Schwartz & Wade, $17.99, ages 4 and up, 32 pages. A lonely boy in a new neighborhood calls out for his best friend Neville and is joined by other kids who help him to find what he misses.
4. A House in the Woods, by Inga Moore, Candlewick, $16.99, ages 3 and up, 48 pages. Two pigs return home to find their clumsy friends Moose and Bear have crushed their hut and den. But no worries, the four friends will ask the beavers to build them a house they can all live in together.
5. Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships, by Catherine Thimmesh, Houghton Mifflin, $16.99, ages 4-8, 32 pages. Unlikely animal friends find affection in this charming book of photographs and poems. In one spread, a macaque rests his head on the back of a pigeon, and in another a miniature pig nuzzles a camel.

6. Owly and Wormy: Friends All Aflutter, by Andy Runton, Atheneum, $15.99, ages 3-7, 40 pages. A little owl longs to play with butterflies, but then he meets two plump green bugs that make him forget that having friends with fancy wings was every important to him.

7. Hopper and Wilson, by Maria van Lieshout, Philomel, $16.99, ages 3-7, 40 pages. A blue elephant and yellow mouse set sail in a paper hat to see what's at the end of the world, only to discover that the best place of all is right where they started.

8. Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever, by Julianne Moore, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, Bloomsbury, $16.99, ages 4 and up, 40 pages. Freckleface did everything with Windy Pants Patrick until one day kids said they were too different to be friends. But does it really matter that you're different, if you're alike in ways that really count?

9. The Sniffles for Bear, by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton, Candlewick, $16.99, ages 3-7, 32 pages. When Bear catches a cold, he doesn't take kindly to Mouse's cheerful efforts to make him good as new. He wants to wallow in his misery. But then Mouse starts sniffling too. Could caring for Mouse be just the cure Bear needs?

10. Making a Friend, by Allison McGhee, illustrations by Marc Rosenthal, Atheneum, $16.99, ages 3-7, 40 pages. A boy wonders where his snowman goes when the weather warms. He sees him in the rain of spring, but where is he in summer? In fall, he's in the fog of a hollow and the frost on a window pane. No matter what shape he takes, their friendship endures.

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