Louise Yates
(Jonathan Cape)

Professor Frank Mouse is very clever and very inventive and loves spending all his time in his workshop, creating and building things. But as he gazes out of his window one day wondering what to invent next, he spots the wild animals in the garden going about their daily business with their friends. The shy professor has always enjoyed working on his own but feels a little lonely all of sudden. And so the next obvious step for him is to make himself a friend and fellow worker. This is how Teddy is born and the two new friends have a great time building things together. Until Teddy tries to do something for Frank; things go wrong, Frank gets angry and the friends fall out.Will Frank be able to forgive Teddy and make friends again?

I loved, loved, loved Dog Loves Books (see my review here) and Louise Yates’ beautifully gentle illustrations and so I was chuffed to hear that she had published a new book. Frank & Teddy Make Friends does not disappoint. Yates’ signature soft palette of colours is as effective as ever, and suits this gentle tale of the ups and downs of friendship beautifully.
The story, in its own cuddly soft way, is reminiscent of classic tales Frankenstein and Pinocchio: Professor Frank Mouse too is motivated by loneliness into creating a friend for himself. Thankfully his story is not quite as doomed! But it is an interesting approach to the subject of friendship, and he certainly does have this mad-scientist image, especially at the beginning of the book:

Although friendship is the focal point here, I like that linked themes of sharing and also embracing others’ differences from oneself are also present and conveyed in a very subtle, non-threatening way. The message of acceptance being a pillar a friendship particularly is loud and clear.

The artwork is beautifully detailed, and I just love the colours Louise Yates uses. In some instances, it is as if she has barely touched the page when she drew; very seldom have I seen such delicate drawings. It makes me feel all warm inside.

Frank & Teddy Make Friends is indeed a charming, gentle tale of friendship and one that children will undoubtedly relate to. The pace of the story as well its positive resolution teamed with the sweetness and cosiness of Louise Yates’ artwork make it a perfect bedtime story.

You can visit Louise Yates’ beautifully designed website here.

All illustrations © Louise Yates

Many thanks to Random House Children’s Books for providing a review copy of “Frank & Teddy Make Friends”.