I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s day! We never celebrated Valentines, not before Finja and not now. Our celebration mostly consists of crafting some Valentines for Finja to bring to school the next day… Yesterday my husband surprised me though – for the second time in 14 years I got roses and, much more important, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Ice Cream! I’m not the kind of women who needs roses or sparkly things, but you are my hero when you bring ice cream… The remaining evening my husband worked on his latest drone footage and I finally had some time to read a book. But isn’t that what love is about? To know what the other wants, what he needs, to share fun time – and give him room when he needs it?
A book I read with Finja for Valentine’s day is just about this: Giving each other room and still coming back to each other. “A friend like you” by German author Andrea Schomburg tells the story of an unlikely friendship: Squirrel just finished collecting nuts for the winter when he meets an exhausted bird. The friendly squirrel offers one of his nuts – and although bird usually doesn’t eat nuts he gives it a try. Bird likes to fly and squirrel likes to climb, but they find a way to enjoy a wonderful time together: Squirrel darting to the highest treetops and turning somersaults while bird flies with him. Squirrel even hums along when bird sings. Both are happy together: “When you sing, it gives me happy goosebumps all over the back”, says squirrel. And bird agrees: “I never thought I would meet a friend like you.”
But as the day comes to an end, they must decide: Will bird stay with squirrel, who buried nuts enough for two – or will he fly away, as he likes to?
“A friend like you” is a wonderful story not only for Valentine’s day. Bird and squirrel are different, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be good friends. They can try something new, have a wonderful time – and find a way to be together while both have room for what they like and what makes them “bird” and “squirrel”. A real friends respects you and supports you in being yourself. And, after all, the message of “just trying something new” is great for toddlers who often love routine too much… The wonderful illustrations by Sean Julian are the perfect addition to the perfectly written story.
It doesn’t happen often that I find translation of German books in the US. “A friend like you” is the first book of author Barbara Röttgen, who is a therapist and mother of two kids. Author Andrea Schomburg was born in Kairo, grew up in the region around the river Rhine and now lives in Hamburg and Berlin. She writes for children and adults. The original German version of “A friend like you” was published by Brunnen Verlag is called “Eichhorn und Vogel probieren es mal” – “Squirrel and Bird give it a try”. I have to be honest, I like the English title “A friend like you” much better. 🙂
A wonderful book about friendship – not only for Valentine’s day!