Friday 19 June 2015

Faraway Friends

Faraway Friends written and illustrated by Russ Cox (NewSouth Books)
HB RRP $21.99
ISBN 978-1-63220-408-0

Reviewed by Peta Biggin

When Sheldon’s next-door neighbour and best friend moves away, he is desperate to go visit.  So, with the help of his dog Jet, he builds a rocket ship and takes off to the stars.  When the rocket ship falls apart, Sheldon finds a surprising source of help and a potential new friend with his new neighbour Rubin.

Faraway Friends is the latest book from American author/illustrator Russ Cox.  A sweet story about friendship and adventure, it primarily deals with a young boy’s attempts to deal with his best friend moving away from the neighbourhood. 

On seeing the “Jupiter Moving Co” truck leave, Sheldon decides that his friend has moved to Jupiter and a rocket ship needs to be built so he can visit. With his dog, Jet, he builds a rather rickety rocket from various items around the house and, with the help of a lot of imagination, they take off for the stars.  It’s a short trip, however, as the rocket falls apart before they make it to Jupiter.  Looking over the fence at them is what appears to be a pair of alien eyes.  To their surprise, the eyes belong to their new neighbour Rubin who helps with the repairs to the rocket ship and joins them as they take off again.

This is an energetic and fun story about friendship that also comes with a hint of adventure; it would make a great read-aloud book.  Visually, each page is filled with big colourful illustrations.  With a mixture of full-page and cartoon-style panels, there is enough detail and variety to entertain any young reader as they flip through each page.

Russ Cox was raised in the backwoods of Tennessee, where he spent his time drawing, whittling and throwing dirt clods at his cousins.  He has taught classes at Pennsylvania College of Art and Design and he runs his own studio, Smiling Otis Studio, where he specialises in illustration for the children’s book market.  She can be found online at:

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