Two Caldecott honorees—and real-life best friends— team up to illustrate a story of friendship from bestselling author Julie Fogliano.
Like the two stars of this story, illustrators Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal know that differences only make a good friendship stronger. In this bouncy, rhyming story, two best friends think about all the little things that don’t matter– and the big things that really, really do. Mostly I care that you’re you and I’m me, and I care that we’re us, and I care that we’re we.
With each artist designing and drawing one character, and collaborating on the scenery and details, Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal transformed this sweet story into a celebration of friendship– including their own– and a unique artistic vision.
Working remotely, they swapped drawings across the country, using a limited palette of teal and yellow over graphite. As artwork passed back and forth between their mailboxes, childhood versions of each artist came to life and came together on the page into one unified creation.
Award-winning author Julie Fogliano’s rhythmic rhymes bring it all together, expressing the unconditional love any best friend can relate to.
November 22, 2022
Up to Kindergarten
is the New York Times bestselling author of, among other tiles, And Then It’s Spring
and If You Want to See a Whale
as well as the poetry collection, as well as Just in Case You Want to Fly
, illustrated by Christian Robinson. Recipient of the 2013 the Ezra Jack Keats award and two Boston Globe-Horn Book Honors, her books have been translated into more than ten languages. Julie lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and three children. Molly Idle
's work as an author-illustrator includes the Caldecott Honor Book Flora and the Flamingo
, Flora and the Penguin
, Flora and the Peacocks
, Flora and the Chicks
, Flora and the Ostrich
, and Tea Rex
, Camp Rex
, Sea Rex
, and Santa Rex
, among other books, including Pearl
, an original fable about a mermaid who learns the power of one small act. She lives with her family in Arizona, and invites you to visit her at idleillustration.com. Juana Martinez-Neal
is the author and illustrator of the Caldecott Honor winning book Alma and How She Got Her Name
. She also illustrated La Princesa and the Pea
by Susan Middleton Elya, for which she won a Pura Belpré Illustrator Award, Babymoon
by Hayley Barrett, Swashby and the Sea
by Beth Ferry, and Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
by Kevin Noble Maillard, which won a Robert F. Sibert Medal. Juana Martinez-Neal lives in Connecticut with her family. Visit her online at www.juanamartinezneal.com.
★ "Fogliano's sprightly, rhythmic text sets a fun tone for exploring what really matters in friendship. While effective picture books grow from the combining of words and images, this book takes the collaboration a step further by drawing on the talents of real-life best friends and Caldecott honorees Idle and Martinez-Neal. . . . The result is a warm, loving celebration of how to be a friend, and a successful artistic experiment."—Booklist, Starred Review
★ "A psychologically acute tally of friendship’s most solid foundations, worth sharing with audiences large or small and tailor-made for reading aloud."—School Library Journal, Starred Review
★ "A friendship book made by friends. . . . Fogliano's deftly rhymed verses, which never miss a beat in their cadence or in their emotional resonance, help readers realize that while the friends don't care about surface matters like appearance, attire, or possessions, they do
care about each other. Compositionally, they end up occupying shared space on the spreads and will doubtlessly take up residence in readers' hearts, too. . . . Show you care by sharing this book with others."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"[An] enchanting, energetic picture book. . . . Idle and Martinez-Neal each took responsibility for drawing one of the children, and their care and respect for each shines through in the affection between the characters. . . . Fogliano's verse has the bounce and joie de vivre of a game of hopscotch, making it a joy to read aloud in a group or one-on-one setting. . . . This ode to the bestie bond perfectly captures the essential foundations of friendship in any stage of life."—Shelf Awarness
"[A] testament to faithful companionship."—Publishers Weekly
"[An] enjoyable collaboration."—The Horn Book