Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
The Perfect Friend

The Perfect Friend

Fall 2005 Picture Books
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Yelena Romanova
Illustrator: Boris Kulikov
ISBN: 0-374-35821-4
Hardcover Price: $15.00
Archie's life is a happy one for the most part-he has a family who loves him, a warm home, and the promise of a surprise. But the one piece that's missing is a friend, “someone to throw a ball for him to catch.” Little does Archie realize, but the surprise his family brings home—“a wriggling, snuffling bundle in a cradle”—is the answer to his long-cherished dream of companionship. Married collaborators Yelena Romanova and Boris Kulikov tell Archie's story (and in many ways their own) with both humor and tenderness. Parents of multiple children will instantly recognize Archie's feelings of confusion, abandonment, and displacement and, ultimately, excitement as a new baby moves into the spotlight. Archie, like any jealous older sibling (two or four legged) acts out in familiar ways, becoming withdrawn and destructive and at one memorable point using a shoe for a decidedly inappropriate purpose. The expressive faces in Kulikov's illustrations say as much as Romanova's text, capturing the mixed emotions Archie struggles with during this transitional time. The subject matter and clear language, coupled with the vivid pictures and upbeat ending, make this a great read-aloud story for any big brother or sister feeling those first pangs of rivalry.
Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2005 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

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