Friends by Michael Foreman

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Friends by Michael Foreman

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: Nobody would really expect a cat and a goldfish to be best friends but this is the unlikely pairing that we come across in Michael Foreman's Friends. It's a touching tale of what happens when Cat sets out to liberate his slippery friend, Bubble, from his confined bowl and to show him the world. Is Bubble ready to be set free though or would he rather stay with his best friend?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: June 2012
Publisher: Andersen
ISBN: 9781849394116

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Longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2013

Cat is a cat and Bubble is a goldfish and as Cat points out at the start of this story, there are quite a few differences between them. The main one is that Cat is able to wander wild and free whereas Bubble is stuck in his tank and can only swim round and round or up and down. Because Bubble is his friend, Cat finds this quite upsetting; so much so, that he tells the reader:

...he just looks at me and sighs.
He is my friend. He breaks my heart.

One day though, Cat has an idea that he believes will greatly improve Bubble's life. He fetches a bucket, fills it with water and encourages the little fish to dive in. He then takes him to the pond in the park where Bubble marvels at:

all the ducks and flying geese, and the shadowy fish swimming among the water lilies.

Cat then takes him to the river and then finally to the sea where he is prepared to set his little friend free. However, Cat is quite taken aback by Bubble's response when he tells him that he values their special friendship far too much to leave him. There is obviously only one solution – Bubble will live in his tank so that they can stay together but Cat will organise some wonderful day trips, making good use of the bucket, so that Bubble can still get to know the big wide world!

This is an enjoyable story that I am sure will appeal to many small children. My daughter delighted in the unlikely friendship between a cat and a goldfish and really liked the way that Cat looked out for Bubble. This prompted a lot of discussion about what good friends do for each other and this is important for little ones to recognise. My daughter also enjoyed the unexpected twist when Bubble puts his friendship with Cat before his freedom.

The language used is quite straightforward and there is not too much text on any one page. This would make it ideal for newly confident readers to read for themselves as well as for sharing together. There is also a gentle flow to the storytelling that provides a welcome sense of calm thus making this a perfect book for bedtime. I think though that the greatest appeal of this book are the wonderful illustrations that really demonstrate the joy of this unlikely friendship. Overall, this is a lovely book and we definitely recommend it.

Why not also take a look at Copy Cat by Mark Birchall which is another story with an unlikely pairing.

Buy Friends by Michael Foreman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Friends by Michael Foreman at

Buy Friends by Michael Foreman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Friends by Michael Foreman at


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