I just ate my friend
Allen & Unwin, 2017
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
I just ate my friend. He was a good friend. But now he is gone. Would you be my friend?
Monster has eaten his friend and now he is on a search for another one. One by one he asks other monsters but each has a different reason why they can’t oblige. Too big, too small, too slow, too scary – each has a unique excuse. But finally another one agrees…but this is definitely a case of “Be careful what you wish for”!
Set against a background of a dark starry sky, this is a story that has a dark humour to it and the twist in the end may puzzle very young readers but older readers will appreciate it. Even though the illustrations appear quite simple, there is a lot of expression built into the large white eyes and the slitted mouth that offer a lot of scope for encouraging young readers to look at the details in the pictures and interpret feelings from the facial features. Teaching them to read the pictures as well as the words is a critical skill to get the most from stories, even those that appear to be fairly simplistic.
Using the universal desire for having a friend as its basis, it offers scope to discuss what it means to be a good friend and how you keep them. Perhaps eating them is not the best idea, but what can you do when you find you don’t agree on something. Even discussing the fundamental question of whether friends can disagree and still be friends is important in developing the concept of friendship.
Fresh, original and offering all the things a quality picture book should.