By Author / Illustrator
Smriti Halls, Steve Small
Friends and family
Simon & Schuster Ltd
Paperback / softback
Wherever you're going, I'm going too.
Whatever you're doing, I'm sticking with you.
It's wonderful to have good friends to see you through the good times and the bad. But sometimes, friends can also be a bit . . . well . . . overbearing. This completely irresistible rhyming text by Smriti Halls is perfectly complemented by artwork from fantastic new picture book illustrator, Steve Small.
See also I'm Sticking With You Too
Having a best friend is the best feeling in the world. What this picture book does is deal with the very real issue that sometimes we all just need a little bit of space and time to be independent, but when we often get that time, we realise just how much we miss that other person.
I'm Sticking With You is a fantastic picture book that tells the tale of Squirrel and Bear. Bear loves spending every moment with Squirrel and follows him everywhere, often getting into mischief and sometimes frustrating Squirrel - 'wherever you're going, whatever you're doing, I'm going too.' When Squirrel decides to go to an igloo, Bear follows him and ends up taking up all the space. The narrative then changes to Squirrel's voice, who explains that actually, he just needs to be on his own for a bit. Bear, understandably upset, goes home whilst Squirrel stretches out and enjoys the peace and quiet. That is until he realises his peace and quiet becomes loneliness, so he goes back in search of Bear.
The narrative begins with Bear talking about how he will always stick with Squirrel, changing to Squirrel realising that he wants to always stick with Bear by the end, even though sometimes their friendship can be a little over 'bear'ing!
With a very clear story line and lovely simple illustrations, this picture book is a great bedtime read. There are lots of talking points throughout the story such as 'How is Squirrel feeling now?' and 'Why is Bear upset with Squirrel?'. This picture book opens a dialogue with your child about a range of emotions and why we sometimes feel the way we do. It also opens a dialogue about why sometimes their friends want to play with other children or don't want to play today.
The illustrations really appealed to my children as they were not overwhelmed by colour or background and could focus on the facial expressions of the animals to decipher their feelings. This story would suit an early year's environment to discuss feelings and an activity on linking the picture with the feeling.
I really enjoyed the simplicity of the story, but also the complexity of the emotions explored. From an adult's perspective, this could easily be a marriage guidance story exploring how to live happily together, but recognising when we occasionally need a break to do our own thing. Simply complex, I loved reading with my children the roller coaster of emotions with Squirrel and Bear.
Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Joanna Hewish, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 3+