Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre: picture book
What did you like about the book? Elmore the porcupine lives happily among many friendly neighbors – frogs, raccoons, and rabbits all wave and say hello as he goes about his day. Elmore feels, however, that he really needs a best friend. His uncle advises him that he will find one: “It just happens…you’ll know.” Pinky the skunk is intrigued by Elmore’s search for a best friend, and suggests that any best friend for a porcupine would also need to be nocturnal.
When Elmore has a close encounter with a protective mother bear, the bear is scared away by Pinky (in a way only a skunk could), and soon Elmore realizes that maybe his best friend was right under his nose all along!
Soft and sweet watercolor illustrations of cute creatures in a pretty woodland setting will make this predictable story very appealing to young readers. The simple story is full of dialogue and great vocabulary words like ‘companion’ and ‘commotion.’ The scene with the bears (reminiscent of Blueberries for Sal) is sure to get a laugh, and the ending will reassure all of the possibility of finding true friendship.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No, it just felt a bit bland compared to other animal friendship tales.
To whom would you recommend this book? A nice readaloud fit for PreK through grade 1, perhaps as part of a forest habitat study. Fans of Hobbie’s most famous series Toot & Puddle will appreciate the tone and friendship theme; might make a good jumping-off point for animal friendship series like Frog & Toad or Cork & Fuzz.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries
Where would you shelve it? picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? no
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Leigh King, Lincoln St. Elementary School, Northborough, Mass.
Date of review: 4/16/2020