cover image Best Friends in the Universe

Best Friends in the Universe

Stephanie Watson, illus. by LeUyen Pham. Orchard, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-545-65988-8

In this meta-comedy about friendship, buddies Hector and Louie are creating an entire book about their relationship (which shares the actual book’s title) and take readers along for the ride. It’s an exuberantly crayoned and markered collaboration on lined paper, filled with in-jokes (they both have fish named “Python” because their moms wouldn’t let them get snakes), a shared love of dance parties, and the sheer joy of knowing there’s somebody else on the same wavelength. But when Hector lets one of Louie’s secrets slip (it involves a milkshake and a pants-related incident), Louie retaliates with a secret of his own (Hector’s secret crush), and the partnership founders until the kids realize they’re happier together and agree to a “DO-OVER!” Pham (Stop That Yawn!) renders the protagonists as both “real-life” boys and cartoonish characters in their own story—on several spreads, both versions appear as the two draw themselves. Dialogue by Watson (Behold! A Baby) bubbles with a fun, noisy energy—this is not a book to read aloud with your inside voice. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Carrie Hannigan, HSG Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt Literary. [em](Oct.) [/em]