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

Wednesday 27 December 2023

Review: Friendly Bee And Friends: Woe Is For Worm

This funny book – number 2 in the Friendly Bee And Friends series - is all about tolerance, helping others and being true to yourself. With its witty one-liners, slightly grotesque characters and playful sense of fun, it’s a Graphic Novel to both engage and challenge the senses of junior to middle-grade children.

Friendly Bee is taking his friend Angry Wasp to Enormous Hairy Spider’s dress-up party, having made very special dresses for them both to wear. Because what else does one wear to a dress-up party, but a dress?

Along the way they find other friends to bring along too (including the whinging, woe-begone earthworm from the title of the book). Interestingly, our blessed little Friendly Bee remains quite oblivious to his friends’ hesitation about attending.

Both the pictures and words of this story are in black; a loose and messy style with very effective yellow pattering, colour and embellishment throughout. 

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell which way is up or exactly where a creature’s eyes are, upon their body! Yet, through the illustrative chaos there’s a riot of fun and inclusivity, along with hilarious and grumpy interjections for good measure. 

I particularly love the characterisation of minor character Butterfly, who is annoyed at Friendly Bee and reprimands him, even as Friendly Bee saves Butterfly’s life (delivering him safely from the clutches of Big old Hairy Spider who wants to suck his guts out as a snack). 

With much to pore over in both words and illustration – along with farty bum jokes and disgusting stuff galore – this book is sure to elicit giggles and conversation in equal measure.

Title: Friendly Bee And Friends: Woe Is For Worm
Author/Illustrator: Sean E Avery
Publisher: Walker Books, $15.99
Publication Date: 4 October 2023
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760654382
For ages: 5 - 8
Type: Graphic Novel