Books Make Good Friends by Jane Mount is one of those books that I am not sure if I liked, but know I do not dislike it. The theme has two parts. The first is the basic story of Lotti, a shy girl who likes to read. She worries about “being weird,” her brother can be annoying (as little brothers can be) and her parents are outdoor-types who like to hike and bike to the farmers market. She would rather be reading. And she has friends, as she has learned that books can be your friend. Yet, she will also realize that books can help you make human friends. They also can help you find a way to compromise about the need to read and the parents wanting to hike by having a book that shows you what is “out there” to find. The second part is where things get, not complicated, but busy and interesting.
CBR16SweetBooks #New Jane Mount is a new author
This part is about the books that she reads and the format of the book. This could be a bit awkward as I was reading via an online reader copy, but I think it needs to be a “full sized” in “real life” book read as there is a lot going on. And I mean A LOT! of things going on. The first is the reading recommendations. They pop up all over in the illustrations by being on the floor, bookshelves, library, in the hands of characters, and in “mini pop up” boxes on a page. They are even “just mentioned” in conversation or alluded to by a toy, painting, or just “happening by.” There are also full pages dedicated to books with comments. There are comments all over the place. These comments, and the fact there are piles of books, books lined up and even a few “solo floaters,” those pages are busy and can be distracting, making you not want to explore them. Even with all the white space on them, the colors and lines blend in. Things can be too much. And if you are not “comfortable” (reading via a screen is less than ideal), you could get antsy. Plus the story pages themselves can also be busy, but they are not as usually crowded. Unless they are. Which means they can have comments on them, lots of details, and lots and lots and lots of color to them. There is color all over making color its own character in some ways. Things are just moving and grooving! It’s busy-busy-busy! It can be overwhelming at times, so just take your time. I would focus first on the story then the books and the extras.
And now my complaint. It is not a complaint in the usual sense, after all I am a reader, I like books and I like recommendations. However, what I did not like was some of the recommendations for the assumed age of the actual book. You see, I am assuming it is a picture book and aimed at picture book readers. And even if the book is in a format that makes it look more “novel” it still has that younger age feeling. This makes some of the books Lotti is reading older than the usual aged five to seven/eight for picture book readers. Though some would work as read-alouds and some of the cl. However, a book like Dragon Hoops by Yang is not for anyone under the age of 12 in my opinion. And honestly, that might be pushing it. So, my issue was, they are amazing books, and yes, read them, but Mount might get themselves into a little trouble with parents/grandparents/teachers who do not do their research and find the real age and subject matter of some titles. Afterall, how many times has This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki been challenged or banned because people see “illustrations and comic format” and give it to a too young reader never paying attention to the subject matter?
In June 2024 Books Make Good Friends Activity Book will be available and in the meantime, you might be able to locate Mount’s Bibliophile Diverse Spines 2024 Wall Calendar.