Some picture books you know are going to be brilliant even before you open the covers. As soon as I saw the front cover of Heidi McKinnon’s new picture book, I Just Ate My Friend, with the startled monster staring out at the reader, I knew it was going to be a winner. It makes me laugh out loud every time I read it and I can’t wait to share it with kids!
I Just Ate My Friend is one of those fantastic picture books that invites the reader to be a part of story. The main character, a yellow monster with bulbous eyes, addresses the reader saying ‘I just ate my friend. He was a good friend, but now he’s gone.’ The monster then sets off to find a new friend, only to find that he’s too small, too big or too scary to be anyone’s friend. Just when he thinks he has found a new friend disaster strikes.
I love, love, love this book! Kids will beg I Just Ate My Friend to be read again and again. Heidi’s text and illustrations are simple but they combine to tell a very funny story. Rather than a lot of white space behind the monsters in the story Heidi has made it night time so the background is a night sky covered with stars. This makes the reader focus on the big, colourful monsters that take up most of the page. The yellow monster has large, expressive eyes, so you can tell how he feels. Understandably the yellow monster is rather distraught that he has eaten his friend and he gets increasingly worried that he won’t find a new friend. You see how happy the monster is when he does find a friend, only for this to be horribly ripped from his grasp.
If you love the dark humour of Jon Klassen’s This is Not My Hat you’ll love I Just Ate My Friend.