Written by Angela Johnson
Illustrated by Dav Pilkey
Recommended for ages 3-6
I remember that Julius, an enormous Alaskan pig, was given to Maya by her grandfather, who lives in Alabama (but winters in Alaska). Maya and Julius have a lot to learn from each other and accept about each other at first--like manners (for Julius) and appreciating jazz music (for Maya). In the end, they become devoted friends.
I remember the vibrant illustrations, and I remember the sweetness of friendship existing between Maya and Julius, who are so cartoonishly different. Friendship isn't necessarily about being the same--it's about learning from each other and enjoying each other's differences.
Julius is available from Amazon; click on any of the Amazon affiliate links in this post.