Age Range: 4 to 7
This story about friendship and the relationship between a trio of very different farm animals has been translated from the German story, Freunde.
The Story: Charlie Rooster, Johnny Mouse and fat Percy are friends who like to do everything together starting with their morning bicycle ride. One day while they are playing hide and seek they find an old boat so they spend the day playing pirates on the village pond. They unsuccessfully try to catch a fish when they get hungry but then they share the cherries that they have found. After cycling home they decide they would like to spend the night together but none of their beds are suitable for everybody so they sleep alone and dream about each other.
Friends portrays a positive view of friendship while also including situations that children may encounter in their own friendships (mutually deciding on which game they would like to play, sharing and wanting to be together). The animals are very different (Johnny Mouse is quite big in comparison to fat Percy (which is not a name I like)) but this defines the roles that each takes in their activities, for example Charlie Rooster using his wings as a sail while they are in the boat. There is so much humour in the pictures. My daughter loves to find Charlie Rooster hiding amongst the ducks on the pond and I find Johnny Mouse’s roles in the fishing picture and the cherry picking picture hilarious! The pictures move the story along, there are so many little details to look for that are not mentioned in the easy to read text.
This is a lovely gentle story for bedtime. Now that my daughter is older she understands the relationships and the conflicts between the characters better. This was a story that grew on me, after repeated readings I now appreciate the humour, the gentle pace and the wonderfully positive portrayal of friendship.
Author / Illustrator: Helme Heine