Two friends on the Caribbean island of Martinique set out to propose marriage to beautiful Pauline, with whom Clement has fallen in love. When Pauline's uncle--a wizard--puts zombies, ghosts, and curses in their path to prevent the wedding, it's up to Clement's devoted friend to prevent the uncle's evil desires from coming true. Based on a traditional West Indian folktale.
Pinkney's dramatic, vibrantly colored scratchboard illustrations are quite attractive. This title wouldn't necessarily be at the top of our list for anytime reads, but it's well suited to units on folk tales or when teaching about the Caribbean. Also, the friendship and devotion between the two boys communicates a powerful message about the lengths a true friend will go to in order to help a friend achieve happiness.
-Caldecott Honor Book 1996
-American Library Association Notable Children's Book 1996
-Coretta Scott King Honor 1996
Interest Level: Grade 2-4 Lexile Measure: 850L
Below and at right are sample spreads from inside The Faithful Friend. As you can see, there is quite a bit of text per spread, but the story does move along quite well and Brian Pinkney's lush illustrations help hold the readers interest.
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