Books

MY OLD FRIEND, THEN

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A kid introduces readers to a faceless figure named Then, an “old friend” whom she has known “as long as I can remember.” Then is gray and shadowy and has the same shape as the unnamed main character. The youngster, who is White, recounts her times with Then, who is very demanding, has an active imagination, and can be a braggart. When Then’s presence impacts her ability to pay attention to others and enjoy her favorite things, she makes a new friend named Now, a girl-shaped being with a colorful paint-splotched appearance. Now is supportive, caring, and fun. She also accepts the girl’s ongoing relationship with Then. The girl explains how Then “is the perfect friend” when “I feel like a story,” which Now also embraces because she “likes stories” as well. Ostensibly, this indicates a healthy ability to revisit the past without letting it overshadow the present. Davis-Gibbon’s creative personifications of the past and the present here will enable readers to reflect on how “Then” and “Now” impact their own lives. The protagonist’s constructive realizations underscore the importance of integrating our past and present selves. Daigle’s lively illustrations depict Then and Now throughout the girl’s life. Settings, evocatively portrayed, include outdoor locations with sun-dappled skies, mountains, and waters with splashes of color and texture.

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