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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Poindexter Makes a Friend, written and illustrated by Mike Twohy. Simon & Schuster, 2011. $18.99 ages 4 and up

"Then he would do what he
enjoyed  most. He would put
his stuffed animals in a big
circle around him and read
them a story.
Poindexter's favorite place
to go was the public library."

What worthy librarian, teacher-librarian, classroom teacher or literacy specialist who works with early years students can help but love Poindexter? He is a pig so shy he cannot look his friends in the eyes. He huddles under carpets when extended family members come for a visit. He is totally at ease with his host of quiet, unassuming stuffed animals; they don't talk, just listen to his many stories.

He loves and finds comfort in the library where the librarian allows him to sit and read for long periods of time, but also encourages his assistance with library tasks like shelving books and helping those with specific requests. When Shelby, an equally shy and reticent young turtle, arrives at the library looking for a book on making friends, Mrs. Polen looks to her assistant. Poindexter finds the requested book and discovers that Shelby cannot read it on his own. WE know the pig is an expert reader...he has had much practice. He reads the four steps to 'making a friend' to the turtle, and in doing so, finds himself on the receiving end of just that!
Those children among us who are so shy that they find it hard to take the first step toward making and being a friend will find solace in this warm, engaging story. Being reassured is often the first step in learning to overcome debilitating shyness. In Mike Twohy's gentle watercolor and ink artwork we watch Poindexter blossom in the library where he finds that comfort. Then, he learns to share it!

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