Don't miss the dedication and copyright page, which shows us how the two boys meet, walking past each other in the street. One solitary black boy waiting, arms crossed, but facing us. Large trainers, laces undone. He's happy, and ready to talk to anyone. The white boy is intent on walking away, anywhere as long as it's away, he's sad too, we can see his turned down mouth and his shoulders are haunched inwards.
Chris Raschka has painted the background in light washes, starting with a greeny blue and moving through pinky red, orangey yellow and finally a glowing bright yellow, they represent the emotions on each page. And each figure is outlined by this wash, as though in a spotlight, a spotlight for each boy - visually it both unites and separates them on the page - they are both boys, yet different.
Moving into the book, our young black 'dude', (for he is definitely cool), stops this possible friend in mid-step, when we turn the page we see a large arresting 'Yo!' and Chris Raschka's figures ooze unspoken communication. The white boy's posture, with simple charcoaled eyes and mouth, together with the small size reply, 'Yes' and the accompanying '?' convey the depths of uncertainty he is feeling.
Each page and spread continue in this way, a visual dialogue between the two boys, where we read the words, the punctuation and their postures as one whole visual communicative act. The two boys remain centered on their respective pages, their feet anchoring them to the spot, but their bodies leaning forwards or backwards; their arms out or folded in over their chests; their heads up or down.
With each utterance and pose, we learn the problem. The white boy has no friends. His head drops, his shoulders droop.
The black boy can't believe it. And so he offers his own friendship. His chest is proudly stuck out towards the white boy, he points at the bull's eye like circle on his t-shirt. The white boy's reaction confirms the doubt we already feel inside ... friends?
But it's not the end, there's one final page, the boys are depicted on a single page. They are so happy, they are jumping up out of the top boarder, they are jumping up and over the word, 'Yow!' They are no longer achored to the bottom of the page, but free to leap and loop. Free to be friends, black or white.