Monday, March 21, 2016

Picture Book Monday with a review of Gordon and Tapir

Friendship is a funny thing. Sometimes our best friends are just like us. We are like two halves of a whole, and we know and understand one another completely. Sometimes our friends are very different from us, and they have habits and interests that we do not, or cannot, understand at all. In today's picture book title you will meet two friends who are very different, and who hit a rough patch that shakes their relationship to its core.

Gordon and TapirGordon and Tapir
Sebastian Meschenmoser
Translated by David Henry Wilson
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
NorthSouth, 2016, 978-0-7358-4219-9
One day Gordon the penguin is in the toilet when he realizes that there is no toilet paper. Not in the best of moods he waddles out of the toilet and follows the toilet paper trial, which leads him to Tapir’s room. When he opens the door, he sees that his friend and housemate is sitting in a room that is bedecked with toilet paper. Tapir is eating fruit and is clearly very content with the chaotic state of his living quarters. Gordon is not.
   Gordon complains about Tapir’s slovenly habits and wonders how anyone can make such a mess. After all, Tapir isn’t “a wild animal.” Tapir responds by criticizing Gordon’s persnickety “love of tidiness.” Living with a neat freak is no picnic. Back and forth the friends squabble and then they go their separate ways to their bedrooms.
   When Tapir gets up in the morning Gordon has already left the apartment, and when Tapir goes to work the next day Gordon is not in his usual place in the penguin exhibit at the zoo. When he gets home Gordon’s room is empty and Gordon has left Tapir a note. Gordon has moved out and found another place to live. This is rather upsetting for Tapir. He does not want to lose his friend.
   Sometimes two friends are so unalike in their habits that living in the same house becomes a nightmare. Who is going to compromise? How can they prevent their friendship from falling apart? Living together can put a strain on even the closest of friendships.
   In this delightful picture book we meet two animals who, at least as far as their lifestyles are concerned, are polar opposites. It takes courage for Gordon to find a solution that works for both animals, a solution that he hopes will save a relationship that they both care about deeply.
   With expressive artwork and a very minimal text, Sebastian Meschenmoser gives readers a tale that is funny and sweet. Children will see that a friendship is a precious thing worth preserving, and sometimes one has to be creative to protect it.



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