My little and I read Bucketloads of Friends (Prestel, 2018),written by Written by Mia Cassany and Illustrated by Miguel Bustos, recently, and I’m afraid that while the premise of the book, which I sort of thought of as Where’s Waldo? meets Beekle, was intriuging, the book, unfortunately did not hold our attention.
In this book translated from Spanish to English, lonely Lucas visits the park, his school, an airport, and various other places to find a best friend. Along the way, readers are asked to find objects and people on each crowded page. I like the book’s color palette, and some of the characters within are unique, although I tend to think that some parents and teachers might object to some the characters’ lack of clothing.
I questioned much of the book’s language, especially its dig at teachers, and would have liked to have seen a more tightly constructed, traditional plot line that resolved itself in a more hopeful way. The book ends with Lucas, friendless. In a book about friendship intended for younger children, I needed a more optimistic ending than having Lucas arrive home, tired, having just missed a girl who wanted to be his best friend.
There are many great books about friendship to share with young readers, but, unfortunately, this one is not on that list. Bucketloads of Friends earns two stars.