Don't Need Friends



Undeniably sweet tale avoids being saccharine.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the story line is greatly enhanced by the illustrations, which sympathetically portray the lives and looks of the junkyard creatures without sentimentalizing them.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Rat lives in a friendly community of junkyard-dwelling animals, but when his best friend leaves, he becomes bitter and aloof. He meets his match in a new arrival, Dog, who is even more antisocial than he is. Exploring ideas of community and friendship, the story shows how individuals can deal with hurt and can bravely form new attachments.

Is it any good?


Author Carolyn Crimi looks at one of the ways in which we try to protect ourselves from hurt and disappointment. Children can readily see that Rat's attempt to deny his need for friends is self-defeating, but they also sympathize with his bluff and are touched when Rat and Dog gain enough trust to reveal (rather backhandedly) the kind hearts beneath their rough exteriors.

Although undeniably sweet, the story avoids being saccharine. Much of the credit goes to the illustrations, which effectively convey the atmosphere of the junkyard and the personalities of the characters. The scruffy denizens of the junkyard are a refreshing change from the many cuddly, bucolic animals usually residing in children's literature. Rats, possums, pigeons, and ownerless dogs: They live on the edges of "official" society in their own messy but companionable world, preoccupied with food and warmth -- both physical and emotional. Rather like children, in fact.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about friendship and why we need friends. Why does Rat deny his need for friends at first? What convinces him that he really does need friends in his life?

Book details

Author:Carolyn Crimi
Illustrator:Lynn Munsinger
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:January 1, 1999
Number of pages:30
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

This review of Don't Need Friends was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass