Sunday, March 05, 2006

Review: Food Friends/Busy Buddies

Busy Buddies; Food Friends written and illustrated by Cece Bell.
Candlewick, 2006 (0763627763; 0763627771)

I don't know if I would have chosen these board books to review, but since I've had to read them at least twice a day for the past week, I might as well; if nothing else, I can certainly vouch for their appeal to preschool boys.

Based on familiar verbals pairings, these stories take anthropomorphism to giddily absurd lengths. In Busy Buddies, Brush searches for her friend Comb, while other buddy pairs enjoy the sunny day: Needle and Thread fly a kite using thread as the string; Pencil draws a base on Paper for their baseball game. Food Friends gathers all kinds of foods for Cake's surprise party for Ice Cream: Peanut Butter and Jelly ride in on a bicycle built for two, while Mashed Potatoes rows in with Gravy, in his boat. Much of the silliness seems largely random--who knows why Bacon and Eggs wear ballet slippers, or why Hammer speaks French and Nail Spanish-- but none the worse for that. Random or not, the sheer exuberance of the oddball characters is hard to resist. (2-5)