CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 32. . . .April 22, 2011
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2011.
32 pp., hardcover, $16.95.
Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 4-6.
Review by Myra Junyk.
You're so careless!
You fuss over any little mess!
I don't want to play with you anymore.
Fine! I won't miss you at all.
With these words, little white rabbit and little pink pig decide to end their friendship! The two friends quarrel over a spilled wagon of toys. Their resulting anger causes them to think about how they can have fun – without each other. What kinds of things can the friends do alone? Little rabbit can read books, play dress-up, and paint alone. Little pig can cook, go to the park, and play the trumpet without his friend. However, they soon realize that these activities are much more enjoyable when they are done with friends.
These enthusiastic friends have made some important discoveries in this picture book. They can do many things alone, but they have much more fun doing things together. Books are funnier and cookies are tastier when you share them with friends. Little rabbit and little pig have learned some valuable lessons about co-operation, friendship, sharing, and caring.
Geneviève Côté is an award-winning author and illustrator living in Montreal. Her many awards include the prestigious Governor General's Literary Award for Illustration. Her previous works include What Elephant? and The Lady of Shalott. Without You is a follow-up to the wonderful Me and You. In the first picture book about little rabbit and little pig, the two friends discovered that their individuality is what makes them loveable – not their differences.
Côté has used simple lyrical text in Without You to appeal to young children. The rhythm, rhyme, and vivid images make the characters come to life. This story would be particularly useful for parents and teachers as a read aloud. Students could participate in a shared reading experience or could dramatize the story. It could provide the basis for lively discussion on topics such as co-operation, friendship, and caring for others.
Geneviève Côté's magical images engage readers in the story. The very first illustration shows the conflict developing as little pig runs away with the racing truck while little rabbit warns him that he is going too fast. The recurring images of a butterfly (little rabbit's friend) and a frog (little pig's friend) provide an audience for the action. They appear on every page other than the central one where the friends decide to play together once again. Readers will notice that there are no words on this page! The two friends have come to the realization that life is much more fun when you do it with others. Or as the very last page says, "Together we can fly, me and you!"
Myra Junyk, a literacy advocate and author, lives in Toronto, ON.
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