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*Arthur and the Meanies* by Jan Fearnley
Arthur and the Meanies
by Jan Fearnley
Ages 3+ 32 pages Egmont UK/Trafalgar Square September 2011 Paperback    

Everyone has experienced fair weather friends, but the first time a child realizes that such individuals exist can be rather unnerving. Jan Fearnley addresses the situation in this story about an elephant named Arthur who has difficulty finding other animals to play with him.

When Arthur tries to join in with some of the other animals, because of his size they tell him to go away. Only a duck and frog accept the elephant as he is and invite him to play.

Then a big storm comes along, and all of the animals rush to seek cover under Arthur. He readily agrees to let them stay dry by hiding under his large frame and big ears. But when the storm ends, off go the ungrateful critters with not so much as a ďThank you.Ē

Upset with their unfeeling behavior, the gentle elephant finally acts to show what he thinks of these fair weather friends and their ill treatment.

With humor, Arthur and the Meanies teaches an important lesson about true friendship. The message here is one a young person canít hear enough. Friends accept each other as they are and they donít base a relationship on how useful a person is or what he can do for them.

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