Of all the life skills that we learn, making (and keeping) friends surely counts as one of the most important yet trickiest to master, not to mention the need to distinguish between ‘fair-weather’ friends and ‘all-weather’ friends — it’s a jungle out there! Every friendship not only requires a leap of faith by both parties, but also time, trust, patience and chemistry. And even when you do make a good friend, circumstances and people can change such that you drift apart if no effort is made to maintain it. C’est la vie.
But I digress. You won’t find such complex themes in this book, but it’s a lighthearted conversation-starter to get kids to think about the right way to make friends.
You Will Be My Friend! is a sequel-of-sorts to Children Make Terrible Pets, with the same protagonist in both books. This time, Lucille ‘Lucy’ Beatrice Bear wakes up one morning determined to make a friend. Despite her initial bravado and enthusiasm, however, she soon finds out that it is not an easy thing to do, finding someone whom she can hang out with, who understands her — and who, most importantly, wants to be friends with her too.
At one point, she is so desperate that she tries to act and dress like other animals to fit in, and even resorts to making (hilarious) empty threats, but, as expected, you can’t exactly force anyone to be your friend: it has to be a two-way street or you’ll end up at a dead end. Just as she is about to give up, though, hope arrives unexpectedly and she finally has the friend she’s always hoped for.
The author even offers some advice on making friends at the end of the book: 1. always be yourself; 2. new friends appear when you least expect it; 3. do not scream “YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND!” at people. Simple but solid basic rules for anyone to remember, eh?
Check out this cute promotional video starring Lucy and the author/illustrator, Peter Brown: