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Book Review: ‘Farfallina & Marcel’ a Story of Friendship

Holly Keller tells a gentle tale of long-lost friends and celebrating differences

In Farfallina & Marcel by Holly Keller, Farfallina is a hungry little caterpillar out for a snack during a spring shower when she meets Marcel, a lone gosling who is sheltering from the rain under the leaf Farfallina is eating.

Farfallina & Marcel by Holly Keller
Farfallina & Marcel by Holly Keller

Marcel gently objects to his umbrella being eaten. Farfallina peeks down to see who is speaking. Their eyes meet, and each sees a new friend. What follows is a gentle story of a magnificent friendship.

Despite their differences, Farfallina and Marcel are always careful of the other’s feelings. When playing games, Farfallina is careful not to climb where Marcel cannot follow. Marcel won’t fly too fast, for fear he might leave his friend behind. Marcel even allows the caterpillar to cling to his back as he paddles about his pond, giving Farfallina a glimpse of life no other caterpillar has seen.

This idyll ends the day Farfallina becomes tired and climbs a tree to rest. Days and weeks go by as Marcel faithfully waits beneath the tree where his friend lies wrapped in her cocoon. He is so sorrowful without his friend that he doesn’t even notice that he is changing, too.

Eventually Farfallina emerges from her cocoon and immediately searches for her good friend Marcel, but finds only a very large goose. Through a series of happy questions, the long-lost friends at last recognize each other and resume their friendship.

This unlikely pair teaches children how to celebrate differences while maintaining their own identities. They also show children that even though friends may grow and change, a friendship carefully maintained will survive and grow with it.

Keller’s watercolors are soft and soothing shades of blue and green that serve as the perfect backdrop for a gentle story of friendship that will delight preschoolers and beginning readers.

» Farfallina & Marcel by Holly Keller

» Published: April 2009

» Publisher: Barnes & Noble

» Hardcover, 32 pages

» ISBN-13: 9781435116405

— Carol Ann Chybowski, who received a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from UCSB, is an aspiring author with short stories in the local anthologies A Community of Voices. The former Santa Barbara resident resides in Southern California.

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