“This story about finding friendship sacrifices substance for simplicity.”
Dog is lonely and wants a friend. Rabbit is lonely and wants a friend. When Rabbit discovers a bunny cut-out on the fridge when peering through the window of Dog’s house, he frequently returns to visit and stare at the bunny through the window, hopping away as soon as Dog’s face pops up through the window. One day, upon finding the door open, Rabbit hops inside to discover that the bunny cut-out isn’t real, but Dog is and a friendship develops instantly. The simple story reads like an early reader book, more intent on using only simple words—and as few words as possible at that—than on creating a meaningful plot, and the basic illustrations, while cute and adequate, do nothing to raise the book’s energy or interest level. The large, blue letters incorporated in the illustration part of the page seem early on to designate some type of mini-chapter, but then bring only confusion when the same letters float in dogs window, changing from “Friend?” To “Friend”. The theme of loneliness and initially unrequited friendship being ultimately abolished by true friendship is a timeless one, and the final tableau of Rabbit and Dog smiling at each other has all of the same feel-goods as their cloud-version caper in the sky, but overall, the execution falls flat.
Dog is okay being alone, but sometimes he’s lonely. Rabbit is okay being alone, but would like a friend. Both discover that finding a friend is harder than it seems. When Dog spots Rabbit, however, he thinks his waiting days are over. But a more magnetic character has drawn Rabbit’s attention.
In four vignettes with deceptively simple illustrations that will tug at heartstrings, this tale of unrequited love and an unlikely relationship triangle explores the twists and turns of affection and friendship.
Dog and Rabbit both want a friend, and in the end become friends with each other. How can you tell if someone needs a friend? How can you communicate when you need a friend?
This book is all about friendship. What makes someone a good friend?
For Andrea Wolman, my lifelong friend
“The colors, sparse illustrations, and predictable plot make this a satisfactory beginning book about friendship for young children.”
“Saltzberg’s reprised phrases and art, in smudgy greens and blues, are likely to reassure young readers feeling uncertain about making a new acquaintance.”