Review of Friends Beyond Measure, by Lalena Fisher

Friends Beyond Measure

A Story Told with Infographics

by Lalena Fisher

Harper, 2023. 40 pages.
Review written March 17, 2023, from a library book.

Friends Beyond Measure is a simple picture book story – illustrated with charts and graphs.

It begins with a Venn diagram on a spread that says, “It started the day we met.” We see the two girls meeting at a carnival and a big Venn diagram on the opposite page shows lots of things about the girls, with many things in the intersection of common interests. We see right away that Ana (“Me”) likes charting.

And all the rest of the charts are shown as Ana’s doing. I think my favorite is the line graph charting volume (of a party) vs. comfort, and we can see that Ana is much happier with loud parties than Harwin is. But they decide together to stay for cake and then leave.

However, things get sadder when the girls learn that Harwin is going to move across the ocean to England. Then instead of charts of fun things they’ve done together, we see charts about how few days left and a flow chart of what would happen if Ana tried to sneak in Harwin’s suitcase and the mixed emotions of trying to be happy for her friend but sad for herself.

The final chart is a map of things they’re going to do together in the future, all over the world.

It all adds up to a fun book with a sweet friendship story — and lots of different kinds of charts. There’s an explanation of the different kinds at the back. I think that there’s a certain kind of kid who may just take off making their own charts after reading this book. For the rest, it does expose them to different ways of presenting information.

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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