Don't Need Friends

 
(i)

 

Undeniably sweet tale avoids being saccharine.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
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.

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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?

QUALITY
 

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
Genre:Friendship
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Apple
Publication date:January 1, 1999
Number of pages:30
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

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Quality

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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.

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