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Groundwood Books

Friend or Foe?

Written by John Sobol • Illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova

For students in grades 4 | Published October 01, 2016 | ISBN 9781554984077
JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / General

Cover of Friend or Foe?

Regular price $18.95 CAD

32 pages | 10 in × 9.5 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

Friend or Foe?

John Sobol • Dasha Tolstikova

"A lonely mouse lived in a small house beside a great palace. In the great palace lived a cat."

Each night the mouse gazes up at the cat in the palace tower. Is the cat my friend? he wonders. Determined to find out, he bravely makes his way into the palace through a tiny hole and climbs all the way up to the tower, where the cat sits on the windowsill.

"Hello, are you friend or foe?" he squeaks.

This simple story by John Sobol has a surprising outcome, giving young readers a chance to draw their own conclusions. It is perfectly complemented by Dasha Tolstikova’s subtle yet striking illustrations.

About the Creators

John Sobol

John Sobol is an author, musician and poet who has performed at festivals and clubs in a dozen countries. His first picture book, Friend or Foe (illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova), was described in Brain Pickings as “a charming modern-day fable.” He has toured an acclaimed one-man show called Two Million Years of Technology, and he has written many popular TV shows for children, including Pippi Longstocking and Under the Umbrella Tree. John is a father and a feminist. He lives in Ottawa.

Dasha Tolstikova

Dasha Tolstikova is the author and illustrator of the graphic memoir A Year Without Mom, which was a Kirkus Best Middle-Grade Book of the Year, a USBBY Outstanding International Books selection, and received four starred reviews. Dasha has illustrated several picture books, including Violet and the Woof by Rebecca Grabill, Friend or Foe? by John Sobol and The Jacket by Kirsten Hall. Her illustrations have also appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. The Bad Chair is the first picture book Dasha has written and illustrated.

Awards and Praise

"A quiet, thoughtful narrative for all readers who like to wonder." — Kirkus Reviews

"Sobol's original and engaging story is perfectly complemented by Dasha Tolstikova's subtle yet striking illustrations. Beautifully produced, exceptionally entertaining." — Midwest Book Review

"The story is stark and ambiguous … It’s this understatedness that lets the book’s sly humour land." — The Globe and Mail

"A solid addition for most libraries; hand this one to fans of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s Sam and Dave Dig a Hole." — School Library Journal

"With quiet artwork and a story that has a fable-like quality to it, this title presents a unique addition to the picture book field." — Resource Links

"A charming modern-day fable, without a simplistic moral, about what makes for and what undoes the sense of otherness." — Brain Pickings

  • Commended School Library Journal Best Picture Books, 2016
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