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Side by Side – Children’s Book Review


From the Cover of Side by Side by Rachel Bright:

“Deep in the heart of Wintermouse Wood,
Down in the grass where the autumn trees stood,
Lived all kinds of creatures—
some big and some small—
Some spiky, some furry, some short, and some tall.

Follow one little mouse on her search for a best friend to stay by her side in this joyful, read-aloud bedtime book—the perfect celebration of friendship.”



Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 3 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

What Our Family Thought:

The target audience of this story is elementary aged school children. The book was not intended to benefit only foster/adoptive children but was written to the general public. It seemed that our elementary aged child did the best with this book while the middle schooler and high school kids appeared to take little interest in this book. As parents, we enjoyed the rhythmic pace of the words. The rhythm and rhyming made this a fun and easy book to read to kids.

The illustrations were well done and executed in a fun cartoon type quality that you would come to expect from a high quality animated show. Transfiguring Adoption would say that the illustrations would do well to hold the attention of your elementary age child.

This tale features a mouse that feels like an outsider within its own family. The mouse goes on a search for a friend that it can enjoy life with at its own speed. The mouse befriends a vole that in appearance is different from the mouse. However, the pair quickly learn that they enjoy many of the same activities. We found this be a very useful book for discussing friendships as well as a foster/adoptive family itself. Friends and foster/adoptive families may not have members that physically look alike. However, there are qualities that all share that make a friendship or a family. Through discussion with your child it is your mission with this story to name those qualities and help them learn about a family and friendships.

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It’s Your Turn:

  1. How did mouse feel left out at the beginning of the story?
  2. Did mouse like squirrel? Why?
  3. Why couldn’t mouse be friends with squirrel?
  4. How did mouse feel when she was alone? How do you know?
  5. How do you feel when you’re alone?
  6. Is it good for people to be alone all the time? Why?
  7. Why were Vole and Mouse good friends?
  8. Do you have a good friend?
  9. What do you and your friend have in common?
  10. What do you and your foster/adoptive parents have in common?


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