Picture Book Review – We Forgot Brock!
We Forgot Brock!
Author: Carter Goodrich
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (August 25, 2015)
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
The importance of imaginary friends is very real in We Forgot Brock! a picture book adventure from the author of Say Hello to Zorro! and lead character designer for Despicable Me, Finding Nemo, and Monsters, Inc.
Phillip and Brock are best friends. Everyone can see Phillip, but only Phillip can see Brock. A night at the Big Fair is all fun and games until Phillip gets sleepy, heads home, and forgets Brock!
Brock misses Phillip. And Phillip misses Brock. Will they reunite? With the help of another pair of pals, they just might. Because even imaginary friends get lost sometimes. Finding them is part of the adventure.
What a fun book! The narrator tells a heartwarming story of unconditional friendship and the unique bond of imaginary friends. It’s so fun to get lost in a good story. Especially one that impresses upon kids without preaching or moralizing them to death. The “lesson” in We Forgot Brock applies to both parents and children, doing two things: a.) stresses upon parents the significance of imaginary friends and, b.) provides an entertaining adventure for kids that also promotes acceptance – that “imaginary friends” are okay.
Throughout the story we see Phillip and his imaginary friend Brock, doing all the things best friends do together – playing outside, riding their bikes, or just being silly, laughing and joking with each other in the living room. In Brock, Phillip has a confidant – someone who is there for him no matter what. And, when the unthinkable happens, the strength of their friendship is realized ten-fold.
Phillip’s parents can’t see Brock, of course, but I love how they support their son, going along with Phillip and his interactions with Brock, as an example in the picture below:
“At dinner, Phillip might say something like, ‘Brock would like some more, please!’ But his mom only pretends to give Brock seconds.”
The pictures could tell the story without any words – they are PERFECT! The drawing of Phillip ROFL when Brock does something funny is absolutely hilarious and made me laugh out loud.
When Phillip realizes Brock got left behind at the fair, the drawings portray the real-life, gut-wrenching agony he goes through. You remember that moment in your life when you lost a best friend or some other significant horrible event, right?
All of the pictures are spot-on. I especially loved how the author drew the imaginary friends, Brock in black-and-white and Princess Sparkle Dust in purple-and-white, while everything else is in color, separating the “real” world from the “make-believe.” Princess Sparkle Dust is the imaginary friend of Anne, a little girl Phillip meets while searching for Brock. I’m not gonna tell you how the story ends!
For a heartwarming story with just enough suspense and drama for your little adventurers, We Forgot Brock by Carter Goodrich is an excellent choice for books about the bond, the importance and the comfort of unconditional friendship.
The author leaves us with a little treat at the end – on the page opposite the back flap, Phillip’s mom is vacuuming and finds Brock’s hat. As she’s looking at it you can almost hear her asking herself, “Could he be real?” I highly recommend “We Forgot Brock” – Love it!
About the Author
Carter Goodrich has illustrated eighteen New Yorker covers and was the lead character designer for Brave, Ratatouille (for which he won the International Animated Film Society’s Annie Award for character design), and Despicable Me. He has designed characters for many other beloved animated films, including Finding Nemo; Monsters, Inc.; and Open Season. Of the films he has worked on, four have gone on to win Academy Awards. A Rhode Island School of Design graduate, he has twice been awarded the gold medal from the Society of Illustrators in New York. His other picture books include Say Hello to Zorro!, Zorro Gets an Outfit, Mister Bud Wears the Cone, A Creature Was Stirring, and The Hermit Crab. Carter Lives in Los Angeles, California.
Further reading on the topic of imaginary friends
For more information about the role of imaginary friends, check out this article on The Conversation: How imaginary friends could boost children’s development – Dec. 12, 2018
I obtained a copy of this book for review from my local library.