You are Not My Friend, But I Miss You
When two friends—a sock monkey and a plush toy dog—get into an argument during playtime, Monkey gets his feelings hurt and proclaims, “You are not my friend!” But when he takes his ball to find someone new to play with, he quickly learns that maybe he hasn’t been a very good friend, either. Bestselling author/illustrator Daniel Kirk uses bold and humorous illustrations to convey the important message that sharing and other acts of friendship are two-way streets.
Reviews of You Are Not My Friend, But I Miss You
Review from Publishers Weekly
Kirk’s frequent use of bold, large-scale drawing captures Monkey’s equally outsize temperament, while the emphatic, minimal text is subtly poignant and supremely performable.
Review from Kirkus Reviews
Kirk’s skillfully paced mix of vignettes, close-ups and long shots guide readers smoothly through this emotional odyssey.
Review from School Library Journal
Here, Kirk explores playground politics through the thoughts and feelings of an expressive sock monkey. Monkey and his best friend have a falling out when Dog takes his red ball and runs off. When Dog won’t share, Monkey grabs the toy away from him and declares, “YOU cannot play with it anymore!” His moment of triumph is fleeting, however. Assailed by memories of all he has shared with Dog, poor Monkey tries to deal with his conflicting emotions. When his efforts to find a new friend fail, Monkey realizes that perhaps he hasn’t been a great friend to Dog, either. Monkey approaches the blue and white pup and asks, “Will you come and play with me?” On the last page, the pals happily begin a game of catch. The digitized pen-and-ink illustrations add depth and texture to the story. The series of gracefully crafted spreads eloquently portrays the ups and downs of Monkey’s emotional journey. Young readers will identify with the plush, huggable characters and sympathize with Monkey as he struggles to sort out his feelings. Pair this compelling story of friendship and the importance of sharing with Randall de Sève’s Peanut & Fifi Have a Ball (Dial, 2013).
Review from Booklist
…children will relate to Monkey’s epiphany that it takes two to share.
Daniel Kirk speaks about You Are Not My Friend, But I Miss You
I have long been interested in writing a book where the main character has feelings and points of view that to us, the reader, are clearly wrong.
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I remember when my own kids were little, and they got into fights with their friends, there was always a lot of finger pointing and blaming. Usually, it takes two to cause a dispute, but nobody wants to think it was his or her fault. I thought I could use this notion as the starting point for a story about sharing and having friends.
I spent a long time thinking about what kind of character I’d make for this book…would it be a little girl? A cat? A dog? A monster? I did a lot of rough sketches to see if anything jumped out at me as being just right. Then I remembered when I was little, one of my favorite toys was a stuffed monkey. I did some research on toy monkeys. When I saw a picture of a sock monkey, I knew he had to be in my story. I picked a little blue and white dog for Sock Monkey’s friend, and together they make a cute pair.
I made the art for this book by starting with pen and ink drawings, scanning them into my computer, and then adding colors and textures in Photoshop. I played around a lot with what textures my characters would have…at first they looked a bit coarse, like tree bark, but it was hard to imagine they’d be very nice to touch. In the end I tried to make my characters look like real stuffed animals, knit from a soft, squishy material. So that even if Sock Monkey is feeling angry, you still want to give him a hug![/expand]
Things to think about and do after you have read You Are Not My Friend, But I Miss You
Sock Monkey doesn’t want anybody to touch his ball. Do you have a special toy or possession that you guard jealously, and won’t let anybody touch? Why is that object so special?
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Do you know anybody else who loves their special toys just a bit too much?
Have you ever had a friend who did something that made you mad, or let you down? Did you ever let a friend down? How did that make you feel? Were you able to make up and be friends again?
Try writing an “I’m sorry” letter to someone. If there’s anybody out there you owe an apology to, try telling them in a letter. Even if you choose not to send it, it will help to see your thoughts and feelings in writing.
Practice being generous with people. If you can share, or give somebody something they want or need, consider giving it to them. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but little kindnesses every day will make you, and the world, a better place. Sharing is fun!
Make up your own character who won’t share. Maybe it could be a dog who jealously guards his bone, or a Unicorn that won’t let anyone near her box of rainbow sparkles. Or a kid with two cupcakes for lunch, who wants to eat them both and not share with anyone else. Imagine that this character has made his or her friends mad, by being greedy and selfish. What could happen to make the situation better? What would make it worse? Is it okay not to share sometimes? Why?[/expand]