Not too long ago I made this Mondays with Mira post and video of one of my favorite books, Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette Portis. But it didn't get much love or attention, so I decided to bring it back with a little addition exploring the underlying universal themes. So here it goes with a wee peak at some of the underlying themes or truths.
Just about all good stories have some kind of underlying theme or truth that taps into children''s universal experiences. In this case the main universal theme is:
Friendship complete with it's ups and downs
Dealing with conflict
The pleasures of decoding language, and
For those of you who are writing kid's books, see if you can unearth what your underlying themes are, it will help you stay on track as to what your story is really about so you can amplify those themes and edit out what doesn't help that story move forward.
And now for my review of this truly delightful book.
Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette Portis is a fabulously humorous book that best friends of any age will enjoy. Best frints Yelfred and Omek know how best friendship works on planet Boborp (not like here on planet Earth), and they’re going to tell you all about it.
One of the wonderful things about this book is the language—Antoinette fearlessly makes up her own words, which are similar enough to English for the reader to have fun guessing what they mean (can you guess what a spossip is?), which only adds to the hilarity of Yelfred and Omek’s frintship showcasing pointed parallels between Earth and Boborp relationships.
Some of these relationship road bumps are demonstrated through dialogue examples, which all friends have likely said to each other at some point. Reading them from a third point of view is especially fun to read. Occasionally these situations have little comments in parentheses to let the reader know whether or not they also happen on planet Earth, which only makes the story more charming.
Antoinette's art is just as reflective of Yelfred and Omek's vibrant frintship with her use of bright, bold colors and geometric shapes. She very cleverly uses a dotted pattern to imply shadows, shading, and depth, which allows the pictures to remain light and fun without a lot of heavy dark lines.
Antoinette demonstrates her expert knowledge of frintship with this cleverly engaging book, and it’s safe to say that all of use can use a trip to Boborp to remind us of the trials of our own best friendships (right here on planet Earth!). This book is a great example of how to creatively engage with one of the core universal themes in children's lives and literature - friendship.
Here's a wee video that will show even more and goes a little deeper into Antoinette's writing and illustrating techniques. If you know anyone who might enjoy this, please share it. And if you are up for some kind words, please share them below in the comments section. <3
We are so excited to be mixing things up at the Children's Book Academy. Mondays with Mandy or Mira is now the Blogfish!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays will feature award-winning former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature reading specialist and MFA in creative writing graduate Mandy Yates has been published multiple times in Highlights Magazine.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature the great Christine Taylor-Butler who has published over 70 award-winning fiction and non-fiction and nonfiction books including the acclaimed new middle grade series - The Lost Tribes.
And 5th Mondays will feature will feature the fabulous Carl Angel, award-winning multi-published Illustrator and graphic designer.
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