By Author / Illustrator
Polly Ho-Yen, Binny Talib
Little Tiger Press Group
Lula and Lenka are best friends and total opposites - Lula is a Dog Person and Lenka is a Cat Person; Lula is super messy and Lenka is neat and tidy; Lula likes talking to people and Lenka likes watching people - but together they make the perfect pair. Until The Day that Everything Goes Wrong ... and suddenly the girls are no longer friends. What started as a day like any other ends with Lula and Lenka ignoring each other and sitting on opposite sides of the classroom. As the days go by Lula makes a new friend who talks almost as much as she does, while Lenka just plays on her own. In spite of feeling lonely, neither one is prepared to listen or forgive ... or to say sorry. Will it be this way forever?
A thoughtful story exploring friendship and the importance of listening and keeping an open mind.
Two Sides and Midge and Mo are the latest Colour Fiction titles from Little Tiger Group. The Colour Fiction books are designed to bridge the gap between picture books and chapter books for children aged 5-8, while also addressing emotions such as anxiety, loneliness, anger and sadness. Both books are fully illustrated throughout, in colour, and would work well as class reads for PSHE themes.
Two Sides is a story about two friends - Lula and Lenka - whose differences normally complement each other, however, on 'The Day That Everything Goes Wrong', their varied natures cause the friendship to end. Lula and Lenka must learn to listen and forgive before their relationship can be repaired.
Midge and Mo tackles slightly trickier issues that must be sensitively handled. Midge is dealing with a lot of change: his parents' separation, a new school and the loss of his old friends. Mo has been assigned as Midge' buddy but, no matter how hard she tries to befriend and cheer up Midge, the more withdrawn and sad he seems. Until Mo is reminded of a time she felt the same way and her empathy and encouragement starts to turn the tide.
Aimed at less confident independent readers, both books deal with poignant themes that will not be suited to all readers but will be especially valuable for those struggling to deal with similar situations.
96 pages / Ages 5-8 years / Reviewed by Rhiannon Cook, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 5+
A story always has two sides and the two sides of this story feature best friends, Lula and Lenka. The girls have been friends for as long as they can remember and whilst they have different interests, they both agree that being different helps you to see things in a new way. Lenka likes to be quiet, she enjoys the heat of summer and everything to be neat and tidy; Luna is a chatterbox, she likes the cool of winter and enjoys making a mess. On the outside the Lula and Lenka appear to be total opposites but they both appreciate and understand each other, just as best friends should.
However, relationships are sometimes tested and a forgotten pencil-case proves to be the undoing of the girls' perfect friendship. Lenka and Luna fall out, get mad with each other and then find it too hard to say the words, 'I'm Sorry'. Lenka thinks Luna doesn't care and Luna is shocked that Lenka could be so unkind. Can both girls really be wrong? Or are they both right?
The story has two sides but Lenka and Luna are too hurt to try to understand each other, instead that chose not to be friends anymore. At first, the girls ignore each other; both so hurt, they convince themselves that they really are too different to be friends. Secretly, the girls don't want to admit that they really miss each other's company.
Day after day the girls hold firm to the 'no friendship' agreement, despite their loneliness and growing sadness. It isn't until Luna and Lenka spot the beginnings of a playground argument, amongst other girls at school, and they are finally drawn to a reconciliation with each other. Luna and Lenka can both see how silly it is to argue over 'things', they both agree that friendships are much more important. Finally, Luna and Lenka recognise their own mistake and how silly they have been. The loneliness fades and they remember that being together is what matters most.
Two Sides is a story written from the first person perspective of two characters. This is a story that readers will instantly identify with, exploring feelings from both sides of the story. It is a wonderful book to share with children that are experiencing friendship difficulties, to enable them to see that there are two sides to a situation, in order to aid understanding and reconciliation.
Polly Ho-Yen has created a brilliantly clever story, which is simply told making it easily accessible to younger or less confident readers. Binny Talib's gorgeous colour illustrations work side by side with the text, aiding the story telling, helping the reader to further infer and engage with character feelings and emotion. This is an incredibly valuable text for use within schools and should be on every learning mentor's shelf.
96 pages / Ages 5-8 years / Reviewed by Emily Beale, librarian.
Suggested Reading Age 5+