Faraway Friends by Russ Cox
Published by Sky Pony Press New York
This is a beautiful book about the farewelling of one friend, and the unexpected discovery of a new one. Sheldon’s best friend is moving from next door. The family’s things are loaded in a truck from ‘Jupiter Removals’ and so Sheldon and his dog, Jet, set about building a spaceship to visit his friend.
Playfully told through hyperbolic language contrasting with the illustrations, it enters beautifully into the imaginative play of children. The minimal text is an interesting and charming combination of third person narration and dialogue. Jet is used for added comic effect as we enter his mind through his expressions and thought bubbles. The illustrations are entertaining with shifts in perspective and sequence, and visual jokes and clues are surreptitiously and strategically placed to delight young readers. The interplay between words and pictures allows the reader to work out elements of the story themselves, allowing plenty of opportunity for discussion between children and the adult reading to them, enticing predictions and imagination.
From the fabulous cover design of big, glow-in-the-dark green title set on black outer-space background (complete with rocket ship, alien and Sheldon’s head in a pretend space-helmet) the illusion is made of a friendship with aliens. The contrast with the ordinariness of Sheldon’s experience and adventure is highlighted even in the dullness of the limited colour palette and adds to the meaning and fun of this book – everything about the way it has been put together is fabulous!
I love this book – humorous and warm-hearted, it captures the essence of play, imagination and friendship in childhood.
CKT Book Reviewer
Authors/Illustrator: Russ Cox
Title: Faraway Friends
Publisher: Sky Pony Press New York