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Looking back on old friendships

Luci Hand

Luci Hand

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Updated: November 7, 2013 6:20AM



I recently had a birthday. It certainly brought home how important friends are.

I have wonderful friends. I was in court and got four hugs from friends I haven’t seen for a while. What a joy to have people smile when they see you — and know that your smile matches theirs.

“Oliver,” by Birgitta Sif, feels a bit different.

He feels it doesn’t matter as he has his own world and is happy with his “friends.” As we look at the picture, we see that his friends are puppets and stuffed animals.

We watch as Oliver has lots of adventures with his “friends,” searching for treasure and exploring strange places.

Some things he had to do alone. Sometimes, he “hid” to get through the event.

Oliver feels a bit different. One day, he is playing tennis by himself against the barn when his ball gets away. It rolls and rolls and goes through a narrow gate.

This is the beginning of his best adventure. He finds Olivia, who also feels a bit different. Instead of “The End,” we get “The Beginning.”

“Annabelle Bernadette Clementine Dodd was a good little girl, though decidedly odd. Belle lived every day as if she was grown — She thought she could do everything all on her own.”

This is the introduction to Sarah Stewart and David Small’s “The Friend.”

Belle’s parents are very rich and travel a great deal. Belle lives with her very good friend, Beatrice Smith, “who was the kindest of guides.” (She is the housekeeper.)

We watch as Bea and Belle work around the house, go to the beach, and have all kinds of adventures and activities together. One day, Bea misses Belle and finds her out in the ocean, struggling.

Belle had decided that she could rescue a beach ball that had blown out to sea. Bea doffs her apron and plows out and saves Belle.

The last two pages of this lovely look at caring shows Belle, all grown up, remembering her very best friend and we end with, “There was a good woman, I called her my friend. She is in my heart now — She took care of me then.”

With his classic collages, the legendary Eric Carle brings us “Friends.”

We meet two friends who are always together. They play, dance, and tell each other secrets.

Then, one day, the boy is left alone. His friend is gone.

He vows to find her, wherever she is. He counts to 10 and jumps into the river. It is wide and takes a long time to swim across.

On the other bank, it is dark and he falls asleep. He climbs a mountain, goes through a meadow, goes through rain and then dreams he is sleeping on clouds.

He tramps through the woods into a flower garden where he gathers a bouquet. He finds his friend.

They play and dance and tell secrets. And then they get married. The wedding outfits are priceless.

Mr. Carle leaves us with a picture of himself and a friend in 1932. He wonders to this day where she is.

I often wonder about “old friends” and where they are, too.



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