My Best Friend Is a Goldfish

“If you ask me, a best friend is the best thing in the world.”


A playground spat with his best friend leads a child to go down a list of possible replacements for her. Each turns out to be deficient in some way: Murphy the dog likes to eat on the floor and run in the park with other pets; Gus the cat hunts live mice; Hercules the hamster stuffs his cheek pouches with food; Fishy Robert the goldfish eats and swims around . . . and nothing else. Following his reluctant insight that friends can be like cookies and milk—different yet still “perfect for each other”—his friend trots up and taps him on the shoulder. “You know what you are?” “What?” “You’re it!”
— Booklist
What makes for a great best friend? The protagonist of this book says: “Best friends enjoy the same things. // They play together all the time. / And they always get along with each other.” But suddenly, the narrator, dressed as an astronaut, and the child dressed as a pirate the protagonist has been playing with have a falling out. Now the narrator must turn to animals to find the solace of similarity. Cycling through the family’s dog, cat, hamster, and goldfish as possible new best friends, the narrator analyzes their relationships, but in the end, they are all found wanting. Sniffing things and eating on the floor alongside Murphy might be fun, but the dog has his own canine friends. The goldfish seems to be a good companion, but in reality, Fishy Robert just swim and eats. Finally the narrator realizes that friends don’t always like doing the same things: even as “cookies and milk are different…they’re still perfect for each other.”
— Kirkus Reviews