Be a Friend ISBN: 9781408869093
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2016
This unusual picture book is a brilliant concept and will prove useful in several different situations (see the categories listed below). We are told that Dennis is 'an ordinary boy' - which he is, but he also has an extraordinary way of communicating; he doesn't talk, he mimes. And he has the costume to go with his chosen form: a black top hat, a striped shirt and a face painted white. He loves miming, and he's very good at it, but he finds the other children don't understand, and he is lonely. He feels their is a wall between him and his classmates. When Joy comes into his life and makes friends, he is happy, and the two of them see the world in their very own way. Once the other children acknowledge their friendship, they accept the two of them, thus cementing the message that people who are 'different' are just as interesting as those who seem more 'normal'. The illustrations are outstanding. Dennis is seen (in full costume) miming all sorts of things, and when he does so, the mime is shown in broken red lines around him. He doesn't 'show and tell' he mimes his story; he doesn't climb trees, he becomes one. The beige pages with lots of space around the figures, make the two main children the focal point, and the final picture with their classmates jumping to a red mimed skipping rope, held by Dennis and Joy, helps us to know that imagination is a great thing for everyone to enjoy. Brilliantly conceived and produced!