Book review: Almost Always Best, Best Friends

Written and Illustrated by Apryl Stott

By Amanda Elshahawi, Creator, Enchanted Literacy May 25, 2022

The duo talented author and illustrator, Apryl Stott recently published her latest picture book, Almost Always Best, Best Friends. After reading and adoring her first book, Share Some Kindness, Bring Some Light, we were very excited to get our hands on this story. Perfect for ages 4 - 8, this story is a masterpiece for navigating the very real emotions one faces in friendships. There are so many things to love about this story, I will try to highlight a few. 

The illustrations of any picture book are always the first thing to catch my attention. Apryl has clear talents in this area with vivid watercolor and digital art. Each picture is full of detail and wonder that embraces the imagination as you dive into the story. My daughter particularly likes Poppy the tiger's flower crowns and tutus, which match her own personality. 

In this story, “best friends Poppy and Clementine learn to share their feelings with one another after a new friend enters Clementine’s life.” So often in stories, it is the mom who is there to offer comfort and words of wisdom. In this storyline, it is Poppy’s dad who provides the space to feel and express her emotions and then talks Poppy through the situation. He even helps her practice what she will say to Clementine to help her understand how she feels. 

When Poppy heads to Clementine’s house to share her feelings, Clementine shares her feelings in turn. This script between the two friends can be so helpful for young readers. In a fun and beautiful way, it shows children that it’s okay to have emotions, and ways to process and express them in a healthy manner. I love how at one point Poppy shares with her dad that she wants Clementine to never talk about or play with the other friend again. This feeling is validated when Poppy’s dad says that sometimes we’re afraid of what’s new, but new things can be good and that it wouldn’t be fair to ask Clementine to never play with the other friend again. There are so many side teaching points in this story that would be great openers for new conversations every time you read. The culmination of the story is when all three characters meet and spoiler, become best friends.

Finally, we love all the resources that Apryl provides to pair with this book, all free on her website! You can create your own tiny friendship book, fill in a feelings worksheet, do different crafts or set up your own bookmark business! Be sure to check this book out anywhere you find books and request it for your local library. 

Amanda is a preschool teacher, mother and avid Central Park picnicker. She values community and is an advocate for families in the foster care system. One day she hopes to publish a children's book of her own. In the meantime, you can follow her Instagram, Enchanted Literacy, which encourages imagination and passion for reading.