I can’t resist a picture book that makes me laugh, especially during #NaNoWriMo and #PiBoIdMo. After a long night of mini-marathon writing, I kicked back with one of my recent favorites: We Forgot Brock! by Carter Goodrich. This giggle-inducing PB is simple and fun with a sweet message: friends make everything better. Let the gushing begin!
Summary: Phillip and Brock are best friends, but Phillip’s parents don’t see it (or Brock, for that matter). The duo plays in the yard and goofs around. One night, Mom, Dad, and Phillip (plus Brock) head to the Big Fair. After too much fun, Phillip falls asleep and wakes up at home, without Brock! Back at the fair, Brock searches for his buddy and befriends Anne and her friend, Princess Sparkle Dust. He hangs with them through the night. But Brock isn’t Brock without Phillip, and vice versa. Then something wonderful happens…
What I love most about this PB: the illustrations. They are hilarious! Goodrich works his illustrator magic (cough, cough, he was the lead character designer for Brave, Ratatouille, and Despicable Me and has won tons of awards) to make his readers bust a gut. He makes subtle character changes between spreads (and sometimes between facing pages) while leaving the frame the same. This highlights the hilarity of scenes, like Mom and Dad’s inability to see Brock sitting at the dinner table.
My favorite spread shows, on the left, Brock dancing in front of the television while Phillip keels over laughing, and, on the right, Phillip cracking up (minus Brock) while his parents look at each other like, “What’s this kid’s deal?” The reader gets Phillip’s perspective in one illustration and his parents perspective in another. It’s fun and funny for kid and adult alike.
I also love the language in this PB. It isn’t a wordy text, so each word really counts. Goodrich picks words that make the illustrations sing. He also emphasizes certain words with italics to better convey voice, like “The weird thing is, nobody else can see Brock. Everyone calls him ‘Phillip’s Imaginary Friend.’ Whatever that means.”
Kids and adults of all ages will appreciate the friendship between Phillip and Brock, and Phillip’s devotion to his best bud, even if his parents just don’t get it. Read it, love it, and relish in the secrets of childhood. You’ll thank me later.