This book was a first birthday gift to Everleigh from her friend Leo:
Taro Gomi - Chronicle Books, 1990
And this is my very public thank you to Leo’s mom, my friend Alex, who introduced us to a book I might have otherwise overlooked. Taro Gomi is best known for this more famous potty training book, but I really think My Friends may be the dark horse in Gomi’s collection.
Like most of Everleigh’s board books, My Friends is repetitive to read and colourful to look at, not unlike this book. The simple story (complete with Japanese watercolour artwork) is about an adventurous little girl who jumps, kicks and swings her way through her world, all while telling us what she’s learned from the creatures who live in it—cats, gorillas, ants, rabbits:
I learned to walk from my friend the cat;
I learned to explore the earth from my friend the ant;
I learned to smell the flowers from my friend the butterfly;
And so on and so forth.
What I love the most about this book is Everleigh’s reaction to it. There’s not much that will hold her attention, but this book, which is in our regular bedtime story rotation, has captured her attention for a year and a half now. When she was a year old, she simply adored the pictures. Now, when we read it together, I call out the learned action and Everleigh calls out the animal or thing.
When the little girl finally reveals how she learned to love, Everleigh squeals in delight (while I squeeze her with delight).