I’m Sticking with You Too by Smriti Prasadam-Halls

Published: 7th September 2022Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Simon Schuster Children’s UK
Illustrator: Sam Small
Pages: 40
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

Much-loved characters Bear and Squirrel are back! And they’ve found the perfect rhythm for their friendship. Until, that is, Chicken turns up… She wants in! But how will Bear and Squirrel feel about accepting a new friend? Will they come to see that some things work out when we do them together. That two can be good…but three can be BETTER?

This beautifully written, gorgeously illustrated follow-up to the bestselling I’m Sticking with You is the perfect book for examining how, even if new friends might disrupt the rhythm at first, the sense of belonging that friendship can bring has the potential to make your heart sing!

It’s a sweet story, one that is enjoyable but I felt may have been a smidge too drawn out. I can see what Prasadam-Halls was doing though, and in terms of the musical nature of the text and the story being told, there is justification to the length.

Chicken wants to join the rhythmic duo of Bear and Squirrel but they are a tight-knit duo who don’t want to ruin their good thing. Prasadam-Halls acknowledges that they aren’t being mean, but to them it wouldn’t work out and it’d throw off their groove.

The story is told in rhyme which makes it a quick read as you get caught up in the rhythm. Something that is a plus because there’s a few pages, though few words on each page. The illustration layout and the position of the text helps you get the beat right as well as enhances the story being told.

Small’s illustrations are great accompaniment and I liked the expressions and activities each character was doing. Minimal facial manipulation doesn’t stop there being great expressions and feelings of the characters.

There is very much a troubadour or minstrel group singing through the forest vibe from the story. Bear and Squirrel playing their instruments and sing along, then the three of them at the end is like a pictorial musical number. I liked how at the end it turns out they still don’t have a rhythm together, Bear and Squirrel were right, but they learn it doesn’t matter.

You can purchase I’m Sticking with You Too via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

I’m Sticking with You by Smriti Prasadam-Halls

Published: 5th May 2020Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Henry Holt & Company
Illustrator: Sam Small
Pages: 40
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

Bear and Squirrel are best friends. Wherever Squirrel goes, Bear follows. Bear vows to stick with Squirrel whether he’s grumpy, or silly, or mad–which is put to the test when Bear sinks Squirrel’s canoe. And catapults him from the seesaw. And breaks his favorite mug.

Finally, Squirrel has had enough. He tells Bear he needs his space–only to realize he has much more fun with his best friend around. Funny and poignant in equal measure, I’m Sticking with You shows that friendship always finds a way.

This is a story of friends who do everything together, helping each other through thick and thin and always being there when they’re needed. It also is about needing time apart and taking a break from one another, understanding it’s ok to have some time alone and needing your own space. Through Bear’s big presence it’s easy to see how Squirrel would need some time alone and not be crowded and inconvenienced by Bear.

Small’s illustrations show the vast size difference between Bear and Squirrel which reinforces some of Squirrel’s feeling of suffocation. The images of Squirrel sitting on Bear are adorable as well and the friendship between one very large animal and one small animal has always been a favourite depiction of mine in picture books.

There’s compromise as the realisation comes they need their friend and they miss them. It was sweet how Prasadam-Halls describes them as joined at the heart. It’s a beautiful way to describe their friendship.

It’s a basic story but one that shows off a sweet friendship and the love between two friends.

You can purchase I’m Sticking with You via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust