Mark Teague usually is a hit for me as an author. And as an illustrator almost always is a hit. They have a style that is fun. But this time I am not sure about the text of We Are Going to be Pals! The artwork is cute, the egret and rhinoceros are a repeated on every page, but the things around them sometimes change (though they are always in the habitat you would find them in) and that is fun to see. And though the colors and details are minimal, they are fun to view. But I was with the story for the most part, though I was not completely, up until the end when something didn’t happen.
What did happen is Teague’s egret is a talker. I mean, a real talker. Puts most toddlers to shame! Egret keeps telling the rhino how they are going to be friends, even tells a few egret and lion jokes that are “Dad 101 Jokes” but still funny. And the egret tells how they have a symbiotic relationship. Okay, I get the friendship information. We need to have communication, kindness, respect for boundaries, compromises, and a few more thing, but the symbiotic part never comes across. I mean rhino can protect egret from the lions, hyenas, and the quicksand, but what does rhino get but a headache?
From the Kirkus Reviews this was written: but the egret’s nonstop blather verges on bullying. (This book was reviewed digitally.) A bit of a miss for an accomplished author/illustrator. And I agree. The rhino should have said something, or maybe the egret could have given something in return, other than non-stop chatter, orders and demands. Still, as all books, the right reader can enjoy this book. (Due early/mid-June 2023, read as an online reader copy.)