Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

I Don't Want to Be a Pea!

I Don't Want to Be a Pea!

Ann Bonwill
Illustrator:  Simon Rickerty 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 7
Simon and Schuster, 2012   ISBN: 978-1442436145

Hugo the hippo likes to think that Bella is his bird, and Bella the bird likes to think that Hugo is her hippo. Irrespective of who ‘belongs’ to whom, the bottom line is that the two animals are friends. Tonight is the night when Hugo and Bella are going to the Hippo-Bird (or Bird-Hippo) Fairy-Tale Fancy Dress Party, and the friends need to decide what kind of costumes they are going to wear.

Hugo wants to go as the Princess and the Pea, but Bella has no interest in dressing up as a pea. In her opinion a pea is “too green and small.” Instead, Bella would like to be dressed up as a mermaid and Hugo can be the rock that she sits on. Bella thinks that Hugo looks just like a “gray and blobby” rock.

The two friends start squabbling in earnest, unable to agree about their costumes, until both animals walk off in a huff. Both Bella and Hugo decide that they don’t want to go to the party together. It is only when they are alone that they both realize that being alone might not be such a good thing after all.

Best friends fight sometimes, and when they do, the resulting situation can be very distressing. Often the fight’s cause is quite silly, but that does not matter in the slightest. All that matters is that the friends cannot seem to agree.

In this wonderfully simple, sweet, and funny picture book, the author and illustrator have created a story that will resonate with readers of all ages. All of us fight with our best friends sometimes, and all of us sometimes need to remember that it is far better to reach a compromise than it is to be without a friend.