I have a soft spot for children’s books, they are so much more fun to read than a lot of adult books and For Faithful Friends is no exception. It is a book that any young child would derive great pleasure from.

One of the unusual aspects is that Marilyn Randall not only created the text but is also the illustrator, this believe it or not is quite rare. The illustrations are done in a fairly soft watercolor style and and match the age group of the young reader very well. they are not overly complex, and convey the story line in a fashion that will appeal to any young reader.

The text is done in poetry style, a series of four line stanzas. While not in the quirky rhyming style of Dr Seuss it is most certainly pleasantly harmonic.

Children’s books are hard to create, it is the one genre where the purchaser is not the ‘end user’. It is mom and dad that have the money, and in order to appeal to mom and dad an author must try to incorporate an educational factor. In this case that is the importance of friendship. In fact, on the dedication page Marilyn says:

May you be lucky enough in life to have at least one Faithful Friend.

The story concerns a very shy little green turtle and a more boisterous field mouse. The turtle is so shy that he never ventures from out of the bramble bush that he calls home. Of course this solution works fine while his friend the field mouse brings ears of corn to eat, but what will happen when winter comes, the corn is gone, and his friend is underground sleeping?

Poor turtle must make a decision, but the open field seems like such a vast place, he can’t move very fast, and who knows what might be laying in wait to attack him.

His decision is made for him, the shadow of a cruising hawk spells danger for the field mouse, turtle must do something. By running as fast as his stubby legs will carry him, he distracts the hawks attention from his friend. He makes it to a nearby rock and hides beneath it, it is enough, his friend has made it to safety.

Also, turtles fear has gone, now he knows that while danger does lurk in the world, he can survive. A fear conquered through friendship.

At only 22 pages in length, For Faithful Friends should make for an ideal bed-time read. The text flows well, and the illustrations are very well done.

It is my understanding that Marilyn Randall has a considerable experience in the world of graphic design and that shows through in the illustrations. For Faithful Friends is actually the first in a series of children’s books by this author. I am looking forward to reading the others. I know that a new book Elmer, The Christmas Elf is rolling off the presses right now. Hopefully I can get hold of a copy soon, as Christmas is just around the corner. Based on my experience with For Faithful Friends suspect that Elmer, The Christmas Elf will be a must have for under the Christmas Tree.

You can order your copy of For Faithful Friends by clicking on the Amazon link above.. Marilyn also has a web site in support of her books.

Simon Barrett

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