Book Review: Don't Need Friends

Author: Carolyn Crimi
Illustrator: Lynn Munsinger 
Interest Level: Ages 4-8

From The Book Jacket: There's a new dog in the junkyard, and boy, is he ever grouchy! He seems the perfect new friend for surly, grumbling Rat. But the two animals are only interested in shouting at each other. "Don't you come near me!" barks Dog, and Rat mutters back, "Fine with me. Don't need friends, don't need 'em at all!" But as this crusty duo soon discovers, everybody needs a friend. Especially during a bitter winter in a junkyard where warmth is hard to find - and a foot-long salami sandwich is a near miracle. Endearing and sassy, this uplifting story of the importance of companionship will put a smile on even the grumpiest of faces.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: There is a bigger message than the importance of having a friend in this book. I didn't figure this out until my third or fourth reading. It started with a new question I posed, "How could Rat and Dog have prevented being so angry in the first place?" We all agreed they had a loss in their lives causing their anger and sadness. But what should we do when we feel like that? Take it out on everyone around us like Rat and Dog or talk about our feelings? When my students get to hear how important it is for their feelings to be validated and figure out a better way to cope. 

So I sort of went a different direction with this book, but you can also focus on the importance of friendships and why we need them. The kids also LOVED hearing Rat and Dog's dialogue back and forth. Because behind the anger, we all knew they actually cared about each other. 

A Link To This Book:


  1. i love teaching with picture books, so i am glad i found this blog! thanks for the great review:)

  2. Thanks for reviewing this book. I particularly like that you gave a suggestion for digging deeper into the meaning. Thanks!

    -Christina S. Team Member