A dog, a cat, a rooster, a goat, a rabbit, and finally a child join together on a journey to see their friends in this unique bilingual collaboration that unites cultures and languages.
STARRED REVIEW “This collaboration between two artists, Carle explains in an introductory note, ‘required an artistic balancing act that still kept the project spontaneous.’ The result of their efforts is a resounding success. Each author/artist relates the same cumulative story about a dog on its way to a human friend, gathering other animals along the way. With minimal text featuring an exuberant refrain, each artist renders the scenario in spare artwork, rendered in his own distinctive style. Carle’s English version begins at the front of the book and Iwamura’s version, as is the custom in his native Japan, begins at the back. The two tales meet in the middle with a gatefold spread that unites the two human friends; youngsters open the gatefold to find the respective menageries in tow, and a song—with melody line provided—that incorporates all of the animals’ sounds in both English and Japanese. Inventively, as the story progresses, a small icon (a bunny with long ears, a boy with a baseball cap, etc.) designates each speaker’s voice. The remarkable achievement here is how well the two artists’ styles—so different in media and execution—mesh. Carle uses his signature bold paint strokes and collage, Iwamura employs a find black line and delicate watercolor wash; but each makes brilliant use of the white space surrounding the characters. When all of the animals join at the center, each pairs off with its alter ago; Carle’s bold collage rooster, in fauvian greens, blues and reds, regards Iwamura’s finely drawn, realistic counterpart, while the two dragonflies flit about. Eyes closed, Carle’s boy strums his guitar, lost in song, while Iwamura’s girl looks directly at readers, as if telling them to “Come along. Our friend is your friend.” A charming ode to friendship and an ideal showcase for two varied and vibrant artistic styles.”
– Publisher’s Weekly, February 10, 2003 *Starred and Boxed Review
“K-Gr. 2. Starting at opposite ends of this bilingual collaboration, two popular children’s book artists work toward the middle while telling the same tale in English and Japanese. A dog, off to meet a friend, invites a cat to come along, because “my friend is your friend.” For the same reason, a rooster, a goat, and a rabbit end up tagging along; the “friend” turns out to be a child. Eventually, everyone meets to dance and sing across a central double-foldout spread. The text is brief and repetitive (speakers are identified by icons), and the Japanese text is transliterated, which allows monolingual American children to “read” along in either direction. Each artist illustrates his half in characteristic style; Iwamura’s fetching, naturalistic paintings are softer looking and feature smaller characters than Carle’s familiar painted-paper collages, but the artists’ work merges without jarring contrast. The authors’ remarks printed on the inside dust jacket will be lost to most children, but the tale’s simple theme and unusual format make an inviting celebration of social and cross-cultural connections.”
– John Peters for Book List Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved