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Let's Be Enemies
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Let's Be Enemies

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  306 ratings  ·  43 reviews
James used to be my friend. But today he is my enemy.

James and John are best friends—or at least they used to be. They shared pretzels, umbrellas, and even chicken pox. Now James always wants to be boss, and John doesn't want to be friends anymore. But when he goes to James' house to tell him so, something unexpected happens.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 28th 1988 by HarperCollins (first published January 21st 1961)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  306 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
So, is John an enabler? Will he always be a doormat, or, worse, a bully's sidekick? Or is James learning not to be a bully? Can't tell from the story... but a happy ending doesn't seem likely to me.
Stacy Fetters
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I now believe that James and I were meant to be best friends. We’re bossy, sassy, and just plain rude who also carries around pocket sand.
Sorry, we can’t talk. We have a sand castle to destroy!!
Karen O
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I can never resist anything illustrated by Maurice Sendak. His illustrations in this book are - as usual - very charming.
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture_book
With the passing of Maurice Sendak *sad sigh* I'm starting to take a look at his lesser-known books (at least from my own knowledge). This little book was very cute. His illustrations of the two little boys how are best friends, then fight, then instantly become best friends again is spot on...
Jason Das
Oct 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James is kind of a dick, really.
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Exactly the kind of book I want to write for children.
Oct 26, 2014 added it
Shelves: picture-books
Perhaps the first of its kind.
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads
Magneto and Professor X relationship in a nutshell.
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dad, ellie, jacob, mom
Jacob read to us with such inflection and made the book so enjoyable to listen to!..krb 3/5/16
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is exactly how children are.
Madison Miller
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
John isn’t very happy with his best friend, James, these days. John and James have gone through it all together; sharing umbrellas, pretzels, and even chicken pox. He is awfully tired of what he sees as James bosses him around, and decides it’s time to redefine their friendship. John decides that him and James are now enemies because of his bossiness. Soon after, John realizes that you can’t replace the presence of a best friend even if he IS much bossier than he should be. John decided that he ...more
Julivete Skelton
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
A young boy decides that him and his friend James are now enemies because of his bossiness but reunite in the end. You could use this book as lesson for resolving conflict in the classroom. At first, I did not particularly like this book because I think it does not do a good job at portraying a healthy way of dealing with a unhappy situation. The boys just get frustrated with each other, speak passive aggressively to each other, and then one day they become best friends again. As a future educat ...more
Sierra Dirksen
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
This book is about a boy who decides that his best friend, James, is too bossy and he wants to be enemies now. He thinks of all the fun things they used to do as he walks over to tell James they are no longer friends. After agreeing they are enemies, they immediately decide to be friends again. This book was cute, but outdated. Also, the message about not being friends because someone is bossy is not one to teach children.
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
Let’s be enemeis! After much analyzing their friendship, John decides that James is no good friend. Despite the rain, he goes to James’ house just to declare that they no longer are in friendly terms to each other. This little book has a lot about friendship and forgiveness. The layout of the drawings are very nice, as well as the washed-up colors. The cover, with both little boys pouting is very funny.
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Talk about staying power, this little gem about forgiving and getting along first appeared in 1961.

While it is not about "bullying" (the story time theme for today), it is about how we treat one another and overcome (in a small way) our differences and irritations.
Chelsey McNeil
The pictures look like my two sons, who are always fighting, and consequently, best friends.
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: skylar
A book about two little boys who are friends but sometimes have small falling outs.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Didn’t do much for me
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Real and immediate, the feelings of kids change on a dime. Perfect illustrations.
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Cute, simple, and funny!
“We were such good friends that we had the chicken pox together. But I wouldn’t have the chicken pox with James now.”
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I love that this book exists. My only regret is that I didn't write it myself.
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
What a charming author/illustrator combo Janice May Udry and Maurice Sendak make! Having previously collaborated with Marc Simont on A Tree Is Nice, which won the 1957 Caldecott Medal, Janice May Udry was no stranger to having her stories be brought to life by award-winning artists when Let's Be Enemies was first published. Author and illustrator both seem to be at or near their creative peak in this book, a winsome blend of sensitively portrayed childhood emotion in text and drawings. I hope L ...more
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
simple look at friends and enemies. how do we live together?
Would be wonderful for children's worship, chapel time, or moment for all ages
Luisa Knight
I'm not sure why it's a classic or why Udry and Sendak felt children need to read a book about what they already naturally do: get into squabbles. And the end doesn't even show how a child should properly apologize to their friend when the fight's over. Hmm...

Ages: 4 - 8

**Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or isn't. I also have Clean Guides (downloadabl
Jun 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Here we see one of the top perks of working in a library with an extensive children's literature collection: coming across quirky little books like this one, illustrated beautifully and clearly by Maurice Sendak. It's a simple, short story about friendship that should ring true to anyone who has ever had a childhood friend that at times seem like more of a frenemy. Would be fun to read aloud to others.
Nov 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Navigating the emotions of childhood, aw heck, any friendship is tremulous work from time to time. This was funny and straightforward. I don't think my kids knew what to think of it. We talked about how feelings are contagious and one person's mood can influence another's - for good or bad. It may have made sense to them. Or not.
Jun 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
Just checking out Maurice Sendak's earlier work (which is just illustrations for the works prior to Where the Wild Things Are.) In this case, neither the story nor the illustrations are particularly special.
Tangerine Hart
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found this book at a thrift store and count it as one of my most lucratve finds. In a world where history is told around war after war, it is the least we can all do to try to "just get along" with each other.
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a recommended book for my daughter's preschool. We are learning about relationships, primarily friendships. I really liked the story. A good one to discuss with a little one and my daughter mentioned Maurice Sendak's wonderful illustrations. She loved them.
Anne White
I've never met a kid yet who didn't like this story. Such heartfelt tension and threats (I'm going to put his crayons in the soup--accompanied by a giggling-evilly illustration)...but it's all resolved in the end.
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Janice May Udry is an American author. She was born in Jacksonville, Illinois and graduated from Northwestern University in 1950. Her first book, A Tree is Nice, was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1957 for Marc Simont's illustrations. Her papers are held at the University of Southern Mississippi.

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