Friendship can be tricky. Even the best of buds have spats, and Ribbit and Rabbit are no exception. This frog and bunny pair are best friends and they do everything together: swimming, fighting monsters and noshing on the proverbial peanut butter sandwich. But sometimes even best friends spend a little too much time together. When Ribbit and Rabbit get into a scuffle over their robot, Beep Boop, a little problem blossoms into a BIG fight.

In the clever new picture book Ribbit Rabbit, author Candace Ryan immediately engages readers with her playful language. Simple couplets draw us into the characters’ daily activities as they “dip it, dab it” in the pool and “zip it, zap it” with flashlights. Even Ryan’s spare two-word chunks communicate the building tension as Ribbit and Rabbit grow angry with one another and “nip it, nab it” or “yip it, yap it.”

Mike Lowery’s illustrations are fresh and contemporary, executed in pencil and screen printing with digital finishing. His boldly outlined figures, while uncomplicated, evoke a great deal of emotion. Funny illustrative details will amuse observant readers; even the sock monkey and Ugly doll look saddened when a double-page spread depicts the two friends in a literal tug-of-war.

While young readers will identify strongly with the difficulty in sharing a coveted plaything, adult readers will rejoice when the overarching message of the story comes around to compromise. As Ryan makes clear, “even if it’s not easy,” true friendship is worth the trouble.

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