An adorable little girl pays tribute to a wide range of
animals and people in Japanase author and artist Taro Gomi’s
The girl spends the majority of the book’s 17 pages simply
acknowledging her animal friends for teaching her life
skills, claiming, for example, that walking was taught by
the cat, climbing by the monkeys, and singing by the birds.
She ends by honoring her books, teachers, and schoolmates
for teaching her to read, study, play, and love.
This edition of My Friends is in board book
format and therefore appropriate for the youngest in the
audience, but it also seemed to capture the imagination of
my five-year-old son, and he has requested it many times. As
a parent, one thing did strike me as odd: I realize the book
is entitled My Friends, and is fiction, but I
had to wonder just where the girl’s parents happened to be,
while she was out learning to nap from a crocodile, climbing
with monkeys, and kicking with a gorilla! Neither parent is
mentioned as a learning influence. Still, I enjoyed the
book, particularly the watercolor illustrations Gomi is
known for, done in interesting colors and with Japanese
elements that are quite pleasing to the eye.