Stewart, Sarah. illus. by David Small. The Friend. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004. ISBN 978-0374324636 pp. $
What librarian does not love The Library by Sarah Stewart? I love all her books with husband David Small and so it comes as no surprise that I love The Friend, their latest collaboration. The illustrations are so beautiful and expressive in their simplicity. The story outlines Belle’s relationship with her housekeeper, no make that her friend, Bea. They do chores together and end each day at the beach or in the garden or even relaxing in Bea’s room. The double page spread beach scenes transport me to Newport RI (Does Belle live in The Breakers???).
A tragic close-call at the beach seems to only strengthen the bond between Belle and Bea… a friendship that continues into Belle’s adulthood. As with Stewart’s other books a sense of mystery lingers after the story is done… What happened to Bea? Did Belle grow up to become Sarah?
For a fun winter story (one that would make a great read-aloud or storytime book) try Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner. Cute rhyming story with fantastic picture by Mark Buehner.