Now that Noah is in N2, his idea of friends is basically anyone who will play with him. He is extremely sociable and extroverted, so he is happiest when he is playing with someone. When we go to the playground, he looks out for other children around his age, and if the playground is empty, his disappointment shows clearly on his face.
Recently, we’ve been having a bit of trouble teaching Noah how to choose his friends wisely, because one of his classmates has been quite rough with him. We keep telling him that friends shouldn’t hurt each other, but he doesn’t quite seem to get it, because to him, this boy plays with him, and that’s all that matters. He comes home telling me that he was pushed/punched/hit by the boy, and once, a teacher caught the boy pulling Noah’s ears, but when we tell Noah to play with other children instead, he will insist that that boy is his friend, and he likes playing with him. Sigh.
I found these books about friendship by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and even though they don’t quite address the issue directly, I thought the books might help him understand friendship a bit better.
Friendshape, a play on the word ‘friendship’, uses four shapes to describe friendship in simple enough terms for young children to understand. Friendship is portrayed in a very positive light, and even though the four friends disagree sometimes, they learn to forgive each other, because it’s more fun to be with friends than to be alone. That’s definitely a good lesson for children to learn!
Noah especially liked how the shapes could form different objects such as a rocket together, and I’m thinking of giving him some shapes, and asking him to come up with his own creations as well.
I loved the word play in both Spoon and Chopsticks, but preschoolers like Noah probably won’t be able to appreciate the puns. In Spoon, we learn about how Spoon envies his friends because he thinks they’ve got it better than him, while his friends feel the exact same way about him. Ultimately, it is a good way for parents to tell their children to appreciate what they have, and not to compare.
Chopsticks is about how two really close friends (a pair of chopsticks) learn to be independent. Initially, they think that they cannot function without each other, but when one of them is forced to step out of his comfort zone, he tries out some new activities, and realises that he can have fun without his friend. That, however, doesn’t mean that he abandons his best friend! They find new ways to work together, and I think it shows children that friendships evolve continually, depending on the circumstances.
We both like the illustrations and simple text used in these three books, and Noah loves reading them with me. He examines the pictures carefully while I read, and likes asking me about what the other characters on the pages are doing. I’m sure toddlers and preschoolers will appreciate these books too, so do check them out.
Check out the previous Friday Flips posts HERE. I’ve also created a photo album on Facebook with some other good reads, and will be updating it whenever I come across more books that we enjoy. Do pop by for a look HERE.
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