Picture Books

Amos and Boris in Amos and Boris by William Steig

Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat in the Curious George stories by H.A. and Margret Rey

Frances and Thelma in A Bargain for Frances by Russell Hoban

Frog and Toad in Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel

George and Martha in George and Martha by James Marshall

Ira and Reggie in Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber

Rosie and Michael by Rosie and Michael by Judith Viorst

Tim and Ginger in Tim and Ginger by Edward Ardizzone

Cowley, Joy. Snake and Lizard. La Jolla, Calif. : Kane/Miller, 2007.

Cowley, Joy. Friends: Snake and Lizard. Wellington, N.Z.: Gecko Press, 2011, c2009.

Alary, Laura. What Grew in Larry’s Garden. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2020.
Gardens bring friendship and understanding. They build goodwill in a world often filled with fear and loneliness. This quietly gentle picture book illustrated by Kass Reich is based on the true story of a Toronto schoolteacher who showed his students how to grow tomato plants and share them with others. “We can figure this out,” he says over and over again to his young neighbour Grace when problems arise. Highly recommended for gardeners of all ages. 

Cordell, Matthew. Cornbread and Poppy. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2022.
Best friends – at least in stories – are often unalike. Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel. George and Martha by James Marshall. Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley. Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake. Cornbread and Poppy are also completely unalike. Cornbread has prepared for winter: food is harvested, preserved, and put away for the coming months. Poppy hasn’t. She has spent her time playing. But now the cold weather has arrived and she is not prepared. What should Cornbread do? Well, help her, of course. So the two little mice set off for Holler Mountain to forage for food for Poppy. And what an adventure! This 80-page little chapter book is perfect for readers ready for longer stories and for teachers ready to introduce literary elements to their students. Happily recommended!

Forler, Nan. Rodney was a Tortoise. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2022.
Bernadette loves her friend, Rodney. They have contests, play dress up games, and enjoy treats together. In the evenings, she reads him stories of the outdoors. At night, he sleeps in a tank beside her bed. The two of them are the best of companions. But one day, Rodney stops moving. He has died, and not even a funeral and remembering all the lessons he taught her can ease the grief. At school, everyone goes about their usual life, talking about their usual concerns, while she withdraws further and further into sadness until one day a classmate – Amar – comes to sit beside her out in the playground. And slowly Bernadette comes back to life. The soft watercolour and pencil illustrations by Young Ling Kang help tell this gentle story recommended for anyone who has ever lost a beloved friend.

Questions to talk about…
How do we gladly make accommodations for the weaknesses of our friends?
What have our friends taught us about how to live a good life?
How do we protect ourselves when in pain?
How do we reenter life after deep grief?

Hrab, Naseem. Otis & Peanut. Toronto: Owlkids Books, 2023.
Otis and Peanut, a guinea pig and a mole rat join the pantheon of fictional best friends in three little stories told in graphic novel format. They go shopping together. They play on the swings together. They remember happy times with their friend Pearl and talk about their sadness now that she’s gone. They encourage each other and learn how to find joy in life again. A wonderful book – with a recipe for baked potatoes at the end – for readers seven to ten years old. 


Bobby and Alicia in Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements

Catherine and Jason and in Rules by Cynthia Lord

Chloe and Jordy in Becoming Chloe by Catherine Ryan Hope

Frannie and Jesus in Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson

Harry, Ron and Hermione in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Henry and Beezus in Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary

Isla and Harry in Flyaway by Lucy Christopher

Jess and Leslie in Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Leo and Stargirl in Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Maia and Finn in Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson

Meg and Calvin in A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Rosie and Bailey in Granny Torelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech

Soup and Robert in Soup by Robert Newton Peck

Tal and Naim in A Bottle in the Gaza Sea by Valerie Zenatti

Creech, Sharon. Saving Winslow. New York: Joanna Cotler Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2018.
Louie’s father often brings home small animals needing to be rescued. Most of the time, they don’t survive. Louie usually doesn’t have any better luck. The worms he brought home? Dead after two days. The lightning bugs? Dead after three days. But Louie is determined. When his father brings home a motherless mini donkey on a cold January morning, Louie decides that this time he will succeed: Winslow will live. Beautifully written and heart-warming, this 165-page novel is most highly recommended for animal lovers 8 to 12 years old.

P.S. Of course, all Sharon Creech stories are amazing works of art. But this one is outstanding in its introduction to themes to encourage conversation between children and adults. How can you love someone if you know they might disappear? How do you regain hope after loss? How can you joyfully help someone fulfill their purpose in life even though it means they will leave you?

Springstubb, Tricia. The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe. New York: Margaret Ferguson Books/Holiday House, 2021.
Eleven-year-old Loah Londonderry is left with elderly caretakers when her mother goes on an Arctic research expedition to study a rare species of bird. While Loah enjoys being at home, she desperately misses her mother and counts down the days until her return. Only her mother doesn’t return. She goes missing. It is up to Loah to sound the alarm. This pitch-perfect novel of friendship and courage is highly recommended for readers 10 to 14 years old.
P.S. Always check out novels published by Margaret Ferguson Books. They tend to be stories of adventure and grace.

“Expeditions come in every size and shape. You can be an explorer without ever leaving home.” (p. 172)

Timberlake, Amy. Skunk and Badger. Toronto: HarperCollins, 2020.
Two mismatched roommates become the best of friends in this hilarious story illustrated by Jon Klassen. Badger is happy living alone – working on his important rock collection – until Skunk appears at the door, apparently permitted to move into the brownstone by Badger’s Aunt Lula. Badger’s quiet orderly life is abruptly upended by this noisy messy Skunk. What is to be done? How are the two going to resolve their differences? This 122-page little novel is most highly recommended for readers 7 years old and up. Especially readers who like to laugh. Especially readers who appreciate the joys of unexpected friendships.

Ohi, Ruth. Fox and Squirrel, the Best Christmas Ever. Toronto: North Winds Press, 2016.
What makes a great Christmas? Snow! Presents! Fancy food! And decorations, of course. Two friends go for a walk in the woods to find more decorations in this cheerful picture book with full-page water colour illustrations. Highly recommended for children 3 to 6 years old.
P.S. You, yourself, might like to take a nature walk with a friend afterwards.


Anne and Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables by L.C. Montgomery

Charlotte and Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

D’Artagnan and his three companions in The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Dorothy and Toto in The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Heidi and Clara in Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Ponyboy and Johnny in The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Ratty and Mole in The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sterling and his raccoon in Rascal by Sterling North

Tom and Huck Finn in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin in Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

Print Friendly, PDF & Email