Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Friends Through Rough Weather

I love a story about friends, and think they are important in helping show children how friends can support each other. But sometimes the waters of friendship grow choppy, and hard to navigate. We talk to our kids, of course, and encourage them to come to us when they have troubles, but it can be good for them to know ahead of time that these storms, too, will probably pass over. These stories show some different scenarios in which friends might find themselves at odds, but come back together in the end.

Sunshine and Storm, by Elisabeth Jones and James Coplestone

Sunshine, and orange cat, and Storm, a black dog, are friends. But when Storm comes in from a wet walk in the rain and shakes himself all over Sunshine, she is none too pleased. And when she hisses at him, he runs away, feeling hurt. They stay apart for a bit, each feeling bad, until they reunite and forgive each other. Sweet without being too lesson-y, this book features unusual and expressive paintings.

Lily's Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes

Lily is very excited about her new purse, glasses, and quarters - so excited that she can't keep quiet about them and gets in trouble with her teacher. She loves her teacher, but now she is angry, and she leaves a nasty note in his book bag. She feels terrible afterwards, though, and learns to say sorry, to make it up with a new, nicer note, and to move forward, a little wiser. While not a friend book, I include this to show a similar scenario involving another person who will be prominent in your child's life for a significant portion of it!

Horace and Morris, But Mostly Dolores and

Horace and Morris Join the Chorus (But What About Dolores?), by James Howe, ill. Amy Walrod

In the first book, the boys join a boys-only club, and Dolores decides to join a girls-only club in response. None of them are happy where they are, though, and they miss their adventures together. But one day, Dolores makes a different decision, one that brings them back together, and even adds a couple of new but like-minded mice to their group. The five friend start a new club - where anyone adventurous is welcome. In the second book, the boys get into the choir, but Dolores is left out, and feels it keenly. She writes a note to the music teacher to express herself, and he discovers that she has a talent for lyrics, if not for singing. She is included in the choral performance of her own work, having taken some lessnos from the choir's Moustro. These situations are common childhood troubles - every kid know that being left out feels pretty bad - but come to nice resolutions. There is a great sense of humour in these works (by the author of the Bunnicula series of chapter books), and the illustrations of fun and quirky enough to suit the mice perfectly. Pumpkinpie has been loving these.

Duck & Goose and Duck, Duck, Goose, by Tad Hills

In the introductory book, a favourite of mine, Duck and Goose fall out over the ownership of an egg they find in the park. Neither will relinquish it, so they find themselves stuck together for a while, during which time they grow pretty close, and by the time they figure out the egg is not an egg, they are ready to play together as great friends. The second book finds them navigating the introduction of a third party. The new little duck has Duck pretty excited, and Goose pretty cranky, until she wears thin on Duck, too, who misses Goose and sets off to find him. In the end, the two team up again, bonding over things they enjoy in common. Again, these two books explore some pretty familiar childhood terrain, but show a child that friends can figure out a way to come back together, even if they find themselves feeling angry, left out, or jealous. These books in particular are simple and sweet, yet vibrant and amusing enough to appeal to a nice range of kids.

Find these and other great tales of friendship at your local public library!

Originally posted on MommyBlogsToronto/Better Than a Playdate.

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