Friday, April 21, 2017

Cy Makes a Friend By Ann Marie Stephens, Illustrated by Tracy Subisak

Cy, in this brand-new picture book, is a Cyclops, a small one that you might like to have for a friend. Cy is shy and kind of lonely, but he is a builder.  He can make lots of great things all by himself, but not a friend.  After finding that he can't build a real friend, he decides to practice his manners and his smile.  When he finally realizes that it's nice to share, he makes something that two friends can have fun with together. And the new friend he finds shares something to make it even better.  So that's how Cy Makes a Friend.


As Cy works through the fear and awkwardness of trying to make friends, the underlying treasure in this book is that it also introduces classical mythology to the very young.  In one strand of Greek mythology, the Cyclopes were forgers who made Zeus' thunderbolt and Poseidon's trident (and you can take that to the beach!).  Cy's dog happens to have three heads, just like good old Cerberus (not to mention Hagrid's Fluffy).  The other mythological creatures, who are small and appealing like Cy, are not introduced by name except in "A Note about Mythological Creatures" at the beginning of the book.  So you and your listeners can talk about them as much or as little as you like.

If you do like them, your Virginia Beach Public Library has many books on Norse, Asian, and other cultures' mythology and creatures as well as the classical Roman and Greek.  They include individual stories as well as collections such as The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus and Odin's Family: Myths of the Vikings.  To really dig in and even become a creator like Cy, the new book Explore Greek Myths! with 25 Great Projects has fun, easy-to-make ships, labyrinths, weathervanes, lyres, and more, along with simple blurbs about many of the characters and stories.

On the other hand, if you are more interested in the friend-making aspect of Cy's story, try Trevor Lai's Piggy, who also has to sort out how to and NOT to make a friend. (Piggy was published just last year, and seems to me a prime candidate to star in more wonderful stories, so I'm going to keep an eye out for him.) For a creative parent's solution to siblings who could be better friends to each other, check out Hug It Out! by Louis Thomas.

Review by Lynn

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