And to Think That We Thought That We'd Never Be Friends
Written by Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Children's books review by P.J. Rooks
Preschoolers through third graders would probably enjoy reading or hearing this book.
File this one under Utopian dreams and fond memories of Dr. Seuss. With a tip of her hat to the beloved storyteller and his (of course) fantastically zany book, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, author Mary Ann Hoberman begins And to Think That We Thought That We'd Never Be Friends, a heart-warming rhyme of peace, harmony, and global joy.
Brotherly love has taken something of a violent demotion during an outdoor game of croquet, but as the two contenders fall to the ground, mid-pummel, little sis shows up with a soda that's all her very own. A budding diplomat, she employs bribery in the interest of unbroken play and offers her brothers a drink if they'll knock it off. It works. Hot, sore, and thirsty, the boys decide they can let it go and quickly enough, all is forgotten.
And to think that they thought that they'd never be friends!
Not so fast, though! Now seriously, how many hours do you think an actual family can go without another little tiff springing up? Later that evening, the sister, foregone peace-nik that she was, joins the fray when no one can agree on what to watch on t.v. Dad comes along, hits the "off" button, brandishes a favorite book, and well, surprise!
Did you think that they thought that they'd never be friends?
And here's an interesting bit of news: the police, like snakes, can apparently be charmed by music. It's true -- at least according to the life and times of our happy, feature family, masters of internal conflict resolution.
When a musically-inclined family of unknown number (and dubious talent) moves in next door and begins practicing at all hours, our crew hops out of bed in the middle of the night to beg for a few hours of silence. Instead, though, they find themselves holding various instruments and lending midnight wings to the songs of their souls.
Alas, the police appear on the scene with blaring sirens and unfriendly faces, but the euphoric lure of the music is too great and, like ants to aphids and junkies to heroin, the police abandon their post to lead a boisterous parade through the night.
Irresistible, the wild promenade frolics on, a blaring vortex that engulfs everyone that crosses its path. Streaming from houses, following in hot air balloons, riding elephants, hippos, rhinos, and even a pelican, all the people and creatures of the land join the march, each with their own instrument and song.
And the fun doesn't end where the ocean begins. The animals of the deep rise up to ferry the global cacophony to distant shores.
By the time they make it back to their starting point, the whole world is swinging and swaying, banging and clanging. Snakes are swiveling, dolphins are dancing and people from all walks of life have joined in one universal language, one heartbeat, one moment, one joy.
What a great time they've had! It's not just a Kodak moment, it's a "declare an international holiday" moment -- and that's precisely what they do.
"And from that day to this day that is just what we do,
With the police siren blaring and horns tooting, too,
With our pots and our pans and our trumpets and drums,
And everyone, everyone, everyone comes!
And this is our cheer every year when it ends:
Forever and ever we'll always be friends!"
And to Think That We Thought That We'd Never Be Friends is a jaunty little primer in what could be, and perhaps for now, if we can't yet sing it together, we can at least share the dream.
Also illustrated by Kevin Hawkes: A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea (reviewed on site).
Read more of P.J.'s reviews.
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