Anke de Vries & Charlotte Dematons - Raf
Best friends can't be parted. Ben and his cuddly friend Raf are inseparable. Then one day, Raf disappears. Ben looks everywhere, but Raf is not to be found. Ben is too sad to go outside and play in the snow until a postcard arrives in the mailbox.
Dear Ben, I've been found! I am traveling through Africa. Right now, I am in the desert. It is really hot. The sun burns my head. I am as brown as chocolate.
Postard follows postcard as Raf journeys through Africa. He meets tall pink flamingos, long-trunked elephants, vine-swinging monkeys, and (best of all) giraffes! Has Raf forgotten his best friend, Ben, or will he return to help celebrate Ben's birthday?
"This gem follows a toy giraffe that spontaneously disappears from his child's room to travel through Africa. Even from the first view of Raf, who gleefully dangles from his walking owner's mitten, children will note a spirit of adventure... DeVries uses postcards for her text, and Dematons's illustrations on full spreads bring deep textures and colors to the pages. Tiny Raf at the feet of giraffes at sunset and his night jungle experience as some monkeys' tug-of-war prize evoke strong sensory components. The scene of Ben's toys in party hats is a hoot. In addition to being a great success with preschool fans of toy tales, this story could also be shared with primary-grade children in conjunction with units on biome study or continents."
-School Library Journal
"A beloved toy is lost and found again-well, not exactly, but close enough-in this charming, lighter-than-air import ... Unusual perspectives and bold use of color keep the illustrations interesting while the contrast between Ben's cold, snowy home in Holland and the sunny African scenes adds appeal. Raf's ingenuous comments prepare Ben (and readers) for the change in his appearance upon his joyous return. Parents might learn a trick or two; kids are likely to accept Raf's transformation at face value. Pure delight."
"In this charming picture book, we meet an intrepid little traveler who has all kinds of adventures and who sends postcards to his little boy describing his experiences. Children will enjoy sharing Raf's adventures, reading his postcards with Ben as they turn the pages. They will also sympathize with the little boy whose world is a much less enjoyable place when Raf isn't in it."
- Through the Looking Glass Children's Books Review