Elementary Epistolary

Pen Pals by Alexandra Pichard. Aladdin Books, 2017. 9781481472470.

A tale of the friendship that develops between Oscar (an ant) and Bill (an octopus), told through their letters. Oscar has a dog named Loopy, takes judo, and sends Bill mittens that his mother knitted (only six, unfortunately, but Bill loves them). Bill has a pet goldfish, likes video games, and sends Oscar a seashell (Oscar wears it like a hat). They both like to play with modeling clay. Oscar hopes his class will get to visit Bill’s school at the end of the year.

Bill and Oscar (always shown writing at their desks) are drawn with simple shapes and lines that are still sweetly expressive. The gifts that are sent back and forth show up at their desks. The things that they write about really brought back how simple and honest little kid friendships are, no matter how different kids appear to be. I hope this book can introduce a child to how magical it can feel to get a letter written just to you.

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