When you read advanced reader copies you should be careful about three things: will the text change (therefore, be careful when quoting); will the cover art change and finally will the title change. Friends and Foes: Poems About Us All has at least two of these. It has the change in name and cover image (though I am keeping the image of the F&G as I liked how it came out!)
Douglas Florian is a poet known for being deliciously fun, whimsical and quirky. Some works you might be familiar with are mammalabilia, or lizards, frogs and polliwogs or insectlopedia to name a few. With Friends and Foes, he starts off with happy poems about friends. He moves into funny ones and even sad ones. As an adult who has had friendships start then sadly, end, these were just as relatable as the positive upbeat ones. The contrast of not your typical “friendship poems” or the traditional “it is all sunshine” is a nice change. These poems then might not be great for the toddler crowd, but the older readers can enjoy. However, I would have liked to have seen this done in a less “picture book” size and more of a “easy reader” or small picture book as it would draw the older crowd to it. The poems for two voices do make it difficult to read silently or alone.
The illustrations are classic Florian. They are in that peculiar style that he is known for. They are perhaps a bit less realistic than some, but there is no question the artist. The chalk-board quality is a good fit for the story.