A Perfect Friend
A Perfect Friend
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780689830297, 176pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2000
It feels like yesterday that Ben's mother died -- but it's really been a whole year. Still, he misses her so much the sadness keeps him awake at night. Lying in the dark, the only thing that helps Ben sleep is to think about elephants, those magnificent creatures that his mother loved too. Sooner or later, the thought of their awesome grace always calms him in a way that his sad father, and his two closest friends, never can.
Though Ben feels a particular connection to elephants, just as his mother did, he has only once seen a real one -- at a circus when he was very young. So when word spreads of a small one-ring circus coming to town, Ben anxiously awaits its arrival. His anticipation is more than satisfied when he gets to meet Sala -- whose name means "Sacred Tree" -- the sole survivor of a group of four elephants poisoned by a wicked trainer. With his unusual ability to understand the thoughts of animals, Ben and Sala emerge from the depths of their grief to forge a bond that brings them both comfort and gives Ben renewed hope to face the future.
In his first book for young readers, distinguished author Reynolds Price weaves a powerful story that explores the inevitable and essential balance between joy and sorrow and the fine line between the things most exhilarating and frightening in life.
In addition to Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak's books include Kenny's Window, Very Far Away, The Sign on Rosie's Door, Nutshell Library (consisting of Chicken Soup with Rice, Alligators All Around, One Was Johnny, and Pierre), Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More to Life, In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy, and Bumble-Ardy.
He received the 1964 Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are; the 1970 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration; the 1983 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, given by the American Library Association in recognition of his entire body of work; and a 1996 National Medal of Arts in recognition of his contribution to the arts in America. In 2003, he received the first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, an international prize for children's literature established by the Swedish government.