Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Best Friends in the Universe, written by Stephanie Watson, reviewed by Klaudia Janek

Student Reviewer: Nataliah J.  
Summary: Hector and Louie are writing a book to explain the many reasons that they are the best friends in the universe. However, their friendship and their book begin to spiral downhill as they start revealing each other's secrets.

Straight Talk for Librarians: Watson takes on a unique approach on this fiction story of Louie and Hector, who are full of uncontrollable energy and humor. The illustrator, Le Uyen Pham, uses refined, clean-lined drawings to depict the real boys, while messy crayon illustrations indicate the pictures that the boys have drawn of themselves. In their book, the two friends list the reasons they are so compatible, including their mutual love of pythons, knock-knock jokes, and dancing. However, when it comes to keeping secrets, neither of them are successful in doing so. Soon after, a few accidental slips start a war of name-calling and insults. The illustrations show their real hands drawing kissy hearts and crying babies in mockery, while mustaches and devil horns embellish each other’s likenesses. Soon, their friendship ends, as does their book, and each boy begins to write his own book. The inevitable and unsurprising happy ending resolves rather quickly, but I believe this book is not about plot. It’s about the visual delight of seeing both the real and crayon versions of the characters use their joyful, and later angry, energy to celebrate creativity and friendship. Best Friends in the Universe was a tried-and-true friendship story executed with creativity and verve. This book can be used in classrooms with readers of young age who are still learning about the concept of friendship.

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