'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Review: The Lazy Friend

I’m a huge fan of wordless picture books. This subtle, clever way of storytelling never fails to enchant, and I simply adore the ‘room’ it provides for reader interpretation.

In The Lazy Friend, we’re transported to a vast jungle where we meet some animal friends—snake, bird and frog—playing cards in a tree. Above them, a sloth sleeps quietly, bothering no one.

Out of nowhere, the tree collapses to the ground—with sloth still clinging to a branch. The tree stump, the branch and the sloth are loaded into a truck, and as the driver busies himself with some sticks, snake slithers over to the truck and conceals himself. The driver takes off, and frog and bird wave a sad goodbye.

As the truck navigates the jungle, traversing rope bridges and crossing swollen rivers, the log, the sloth and the snake dislodge and begin floating down the river… a river that just happens to take them home. And who will be waiting up high in a tree? You guessed it.

The gentle nature of this simple story is so beautifully balanced with gorgeous illustrations and a divine landscape book format. The contrasting jungle imagery from the front of the book and the way it has changed at the back of the book, are a sobering reminder of the disappearance of our forests—and how our animals don’t complain. They just get on with life and live with whatever we leave them—until they can live no more.

A wonderful book for class discussion on ecological themes.

Title: The Lazy Friend
Author/Illustrator: Ronan Badel
Publisher: Gecko Press, $22.99 RRP
Publication Date: 6 June 2014
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781927271414
For ages: 2+
Type: Picture Book

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