Just You and Me – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Perfect for those little scientists, or for kids who love nature and its amazing idiosyncrasies. Actually, most kids and adults love this kind of info.
Text ©Jennifer Ward. Illustration ©Alexander Vidal

The story is told in rhyming couplets that provide information about each symbiotic relationship, with an additional layer of text that provides more details about the particular animal behavior involved.

Just you and me.

Just me and you.

We’re perfect pairs!

Here’s what we do….

Some animals and plants form lifelong partnerships with other animals and plants, a relationship known as symbiosis. Then they cooperate and help each other in the most unlikely ways.

Text ©Jennifer Ward. Illustration ©Alexander Vidal

I hold you gently in each claw

and show you off—then you may gnaw

on treats I eat as I explore

the perils of the ocean floor.

The boxer crab carries a stinging anemone in each claw to scare away predators; the anemones then benefit by eating bits of food left over by the crab as it dines.

I love the perspective the illustrator chose for this spread. It shows just how small this crab is in comparison to the fish that’s considering it for dinner. And it’s interesting and funny to see the crab waving anemones like pompoms to ward off predators.

The narrative provides eleven examples from around the world, including the Nile crocodile/Egyptian plover, the boxer crab/anemone, zebra/ostrich, algae/sloth, woodpecker/saguaro, oxpecker/rhino, acacia tree/ants, pistol shrimp/goby fish, egret/large mammals, cleaner wrasses/fish and sea turtles, and something a child will be familiar with, bees/flowers.

At the end, the book circles back to the two children in the garden, with a wrap-up that expands the perspective to our planet. Because humans have a symbiotic relationship with Earth.


Pair this book with two humorous books: Randall and Randall by Nadine Poper (goby fish and pistol shrimp) and Friends Stick Together by Hannah Harrison (rhino and tickbird).

Learn how to draw a clown fish hiding in an anemone in this Art Lady video.

Learn more by watching this short cartoon Youtube video about the three types of symbiosis. Once you’ve watched the video, try to categorize the symbiotic relationships in the book.

Go underwater in this Untamed Science video about the three types of symbiosis. Its examples include cleaner wrasses, clown fish and anemones, and others.

Title: Just You and Me: Remarkable Relationships in the Wild

Author: Jennifer Ward

Illustrator: Alexander Vidal

Publisher: Beach Lane Books, 2021

Themes: symbiosis, animals, plants, planet stewardship

Ages: Elementary school

For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.

16 thoughts on “Just You and Me – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Mona Voelkel says:

    Just sent this review to my friend who is a science teacher!!!! What a fantastic book! Love all the layers to this book and your incredible resources and related text suggestions!!!! Thank you so much!!! I am ordering this as a mentor text for myself!!!

  2. heylookawriterfellow says:

    As usual, you picked another book that I’m gonna just HAVE to read in its entirety. Stop it; I have too many other things to do! Do you know how far behind I am on everything?

    On a related note, I find myself singing the rhyming portions of this book to the tune of “Happy Together” by the Turtles. So, again, stop! My day is too busy for this!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Sounds like this would be an entertaining read aloud for you and yours. I suggest you corner your son and read this to him…even if he’s grown taller than you, now. But perhaps that would make you even behinder….best get your behind in gear (as your mother might say).

  3. Joanna says:

    I have a MS about these symbiotic relationships. It is a great picture book subject and this author and illustrator look like they have done a grand job.

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