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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
My Best Pal: The Awesome Ethan is a children’s adventure picture book written by Karlene Stewart and Jason Stewart, and illustrated by Safia Sharif. Jason’s best friend is his teddy bear, Ethan. The two of them go just about everywhere -- except to school. Jason’s school doesn’t allow the students to take toys to school, and they consider Ethan to be a toy. Jason wishes Ethan could go to school with him; the other kids are not very nice to him and like to tease him. Ethan would never do that. They are best pals, and nothing can change that.
My Best Pal is the story of a young boy whose best friend is his teddy bear. Socializing in school with his fellow classmates is hard for Jason as they seem to enjoy teasing him. Ethan is different; he doesn’t tease or make judgments, and Jason is similarly proud of and defensive about his friend. He reprimands his brother JJ when he makes fun of Ethan’s pudgy tummy. This message is a big one, and it resonates throughout this story. Jason says “Ethan doesn’t like it when people talk about his weight.” The reader can’t help but wonder what Jason’s classmates say about him when they tease him. Being different or standing out in a way that makes a kid the target of his classmates is something their parents need to be aware of. This book is an excellent means to bring up the topic after storytime. Safia Sharif’s brightly colored illustrations work perfectly with the story and bring the two best friends to life brilliantly. My Best Pal: The Awesome Ethan by Karlene Stewart and Jason Stewart is highly recommended.