best friends in children’s books

15 May 2009
Children's Book Week

My declaration yesterday that Mo Willems’ Gerald and Piggie are kid lit’s best-written friends since Frog and Toad was rash. While I do love the duo, had I considered more carefully, I would have qualified that statement: they are one of the best pairs.

How could I have forgotten Houndsley and Catina? Like Gerald and Piggie (and Frog and Toad), their distinctive personalities and voices complement each other. Houndsley seems more introverted and mellow, Catina more extroverted and anxious. While G&P make me laugh, Houndsley and Catina charm and soothe me. Each is careful with the other’s feelings, and though the stories aren’t preachy, together the pair discovers more in each interaction about how to be a good friend.

There are four tales so far in the Houndsley and Catina series, each surprisingly nuanced and poetic for early reader/chapter books, and they present an established, comfortable friendship.

Other favorite friends are Bear and Mouse from A Visitor for Bear. The language here is also part of the appeal, though in this case it’s an expansive vocabulary: “This is impossible! Intolerable! Insufferable!” says Bear, about the persistent Mouse’s efforts to gain his attention. Here, we have a friendship at its sputtering start, and I’m glad to learn that there are more Bear and Mouse books planned. I want to see how they settle into their relationship.

Who are your favorite friends in children’s literature?

Related post:
popular children’s books I hate

3 Responses to “best friends in children’s books”

  1. 1 Shannon
    May 16th, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    My son loves Houndsley and Catina! We also enjoy Toot & Puddle (Toot is an adventurer while Puddle is a homebody and they each respect the other’s needs) and Poppleton & Cherry Sue (a pig and a llama who live next door to each other and demonstrate the meaning of neighborliness with gentle humor). Although we primarily experience them through video, we also like Kipper and Tiger. Kipper endures Tiger’s inflated ego and selfish ways with kindness and patience and Tiger is a good friend despite his flaws. It’s a good lesson in accepting people where they are because nobody is perfect.

  2. 2 Jenni
    May 20th, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Do you have the most recent Houndsley & Catina, published last month? I just discovered it a couple of days ago: Houndsley and Catina Plink and Plunk.

  3. 3 Lynn
    August 9th, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    George and Martha were my boys favorites for many years. They are funny and sweet.