Friday, September 29, 2017

Books Celebrating Best Friends

Themes: friendship, imagination

Nerdy Birdy Tweets
by Aaron Reynolds; illus. by Matt Davies
40 pages; ages 4-8
Roaring Brook Press, 2017

This is Nerdy Birdy.
Nerdy Birdy loves playing video games. Vulture thinks video games are boring.

And that would be OK but.... they are Best Friends! They do some things together, like take goofy pictures of each other, and spend time hanging out. Until ... Nerdy Birdy discovers "Tweetster". Now he spends so much time with his beak in his phone that vulture feels left out.

What I like about this book: It's fun! Every now and then there's a page set up like a graphic novel, and sometimes the story is told through tweets. I like that it shows the problem with spending all your time building lists of online friends at the expense of your blood-and-feather friends. "I'm friends with a puffin!" shouts Nerdy Bird. "She lives in Iceland."
"You're friends with a vulture," says Vulture. "And she's dying of boredom."
I like that it portrays very real problems with forgetting that friends have feelings, and that posting things can hurt feelings. And it does all this without getting lecture-y and moralistic.

While NB and Vulture resolve their differences, Horace and Hattie have a completely different sort of problem.

Hedgehugs and the Hattiepillar
by Steve Wilson and Lucy Tapper
28 pages; 4-8 years old
Henry Holt & Co, 2016

Horace and Hattie are the very best of friends.

They go on walks together, play hide-and-seek, and even try to catch the moon. One day they discover something new and interesting - that hatches into a caterpillar, eats leaves, then turns into a chrysalis. When it emerges as something different, Hattie and Horace wonder if they can do the same thing.

What I like about this book: This is a fun-to-read, quiet book. It also entertains some scientific curiosity: if we do what a caterpillar does, can we turn into something different? And then the experimenting and results. I also like that they're hedgehogs because ... hedgehogs!

Beyond the books:

Compare Face Time to Face Book (or twitter). No matter what your age, try this experiment for a day, a week, a month... take a break from Face Book (or twitter) and talk to people face-to-face. With words. Maybe at a park, while swinging or hitting tennis balls or walking. Maybe eating lunch with someone you normally message but rarely sit with. Notice the differences between spending face time with people and electronic time with them.

What if you could go to sleep (like a cocoon) and emerge as something different? What would you be? draw a picture, or tell a story. You don't actually have to try it, like Hattie and Horace. 

Thoughtful reading on how smartphones affect children:  From the Atlantic ~ "Are Smartphones Harming Kids?" and from researchers in Toronto, how devices affect language development in toddlers.

Join in an anti-bullying activity. Cyber-bullying is a big issue. What can you do to stop it?

Today is PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review ARCs from publishers.


  1. These books do sound very different. But it sounds like both get at the nature of friendship. Maybe I'll do a little compare and contrast between the two. Thanks for highlighting!

  2. I love the Hedgehugs series. What an ingenious couple of stories. I am looking forward to a day at the bookstore to catch up all these great books.

  3. Even the titles sound like so much fun!

  4. Saw Aaron Reynolds present...what a character! Easy to see how he creates such wonderful stories. I adore the Hedgehug series too.