By Author / Illustrator
C K Smouha, Suzanna Hubbard
Friends and family
Cicada Books Limited
Alan and Betram are next-door neighbours. They are also best friends. They are also very, very different to one another. Bertram is extremely neat, and Alan is wildly messy. When Bertram gets a cat, called Pierre, he is dismayed to find that Pierre prefers it at Alan's house.
Alan tries to help his friend out - giving him his old sheepskin coat, his chipped bowl and finally, his beat up old sofa. At last, Pierre and Bertram are happy, but Alan is not - he has no company and no sofa. Fortunately, Bertram comes up with a brilliant solution to the problem...
The Problem With Pierre plays with the format of the book, splitting each spread down the middle - the page on the left is Bertam's neat-as-a-pin living room, and the right hand page is Alan's homely chaos. When, at the end, Bertram knocks through the wall between the two houses, and puts the sofa in the middle, there is a coming together of content and format that is sure to delight readers young and old.
Alan and Bertram are best friends that also live next door to each other. Bertram is a very neat person whereas Alan is extremely messy! When Bertram adopts a cat called Pierre, the pair realise that happiness can be found in the middle ground between their personalities.
This is a nice book that's easy to follow; it covers themes of friendship and compromise. The illustrations are beautifully detailed and there's lots to look at on every page. This is a nice short book, with enough of a story that it is interesting and charming to share at bedtime.
In the classroom, you could use it to discuss how friendships work even when people are different from each other, and how working together to find a solution can make everyone happy.
Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Liz Backhouse, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 5+