Bogart and Vinnie: A Completely Made-up Story of True Friendship by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Henry Cole

Did you know that in 2011, the United Nations designated July 30 as International Friendship Day?  If not, no worries–you can celebrate friendship any day of the year with Audrey Vernick’s newly-released picture book Bogart and Vinnie: A Completely Made-Up Story of True Friendship.

9780802728227Publisher’s Description:    When Vinnie, a crazy-happy dog, gets lost while visiting a nature preserve with his family, he finds comfort in the company of Bogart, a big, lazy rhinoceros. Vinnie loves his new friend, but Bogart would rather just take a nap. A friendship soon blossoms–even if Vinnie’s definition of “friendship” is very different from Bogart’s–and when word of their unique situation spreads, Bogart and Vinnie are a worldwide sensation! But as soon as their fifteen seconds of fame ends, what’s left is a bond even Bogart can’t ignore.

Pairing picture-book veteran, Henry Cole, with up-and-coming author, Audrey Vernick, this clever spoof of the unendingly popular interspecies animal-friendship story is full of heart and humor.


As an elementary school librarian, books on friendship are in high demand, not only from kids, but from teachers and guidance counselors, as well. Far from being didactic, Bogart and Vinnie is funny and poignant and entertaining–exactly what we’ve come to expect from Audrey Vernick. Illustrator Henry Cole has also done an amazing job. His work is so diverse, from the serious…


to the silly:


Take a look at the expressions of the faces of Bogart and Vinnie on the book’s cover, and you’ll have a good idea of how both Cole’s art and Vernick’s words make a pitch-perfect match.

obj469geo247pg8p25I asked Audrey how readers  connect with Bogart and Vinnie.

Biblio Links: A student walks into my library and I think: That kid needs a copy of  Bogart and Vinnie: A Completely Made-Up Story of True Friendship. Who is this kid?

Audrey Vernick: It’s actually a few different kids.

First, it’s a kid who likes to laugh. I recently read it with a child entering second grade and we both had so much fun. While she needed help with some words, her delight in discovering the humor herself was infectious. I think she was accustomed to being read to, especially her first time through a book. But the way she both decoded text and then understood, about a second later, that what she was reading was funny was absolutely delicious to watch. In terms of humor, I think a child who pays special attention to illustrations will have a lot of fun with this book–Henry Cole brought a tractorload of hilarious details.

I also think Bogart himself will be appreciated by the kind of reader I was–one who, even at a young age, had a respect and need for solitude. I still remember sitting with a book in the rocking chair in my bedroom, by myself, by choice, at a very young age. Though Bogart the rhinoceros would not fit in a rocking chair, the idea of time to himself is as appealing as it is impossible, once Vinnie enters his life.

Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using your book in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see?

Audrey Vernick: I think the teacher might have recently read Owen and Mzee, FC9780439829731or one of the many, many, many interspecies friendship picture books. And the teacher might be asking about the difference between those nonfiction tales and this completely made-up story of true friendship. He or she might also wonder, as I did, how the authors of those books defined friendship–does interaction always imply friendship? Does being photographed next to each other mean animals are best friends? The teacher might also ask the students in that small group to focus on the illustrations to see if sometimes what’s being shown in the pictures doesn’t exactly line up with what the text says–for example, are the animals really playing follow the leader, or is Bogart trying to lose Vinnie?

 Biblio LinksWhere can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?
Audrey Vernick: My,
facebook (as well as pages for my books), and
twitter: @yourbuffalo

Biblio Links: Thanks for stopping by, Audrey!

Check out Audrey’s middle grade novel, Water Balloon (Biblio Links interview hereand picture books, Bark and Tim,  Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? (Biblio Links interview here) and Teach Your Buffalo To Play The Drums, So You Want to Be a Rock Star? (Biblio Links interview here) and picture book biographies She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story and Brothers At Bat Biblio Links interview here).

The Nitty Gritty~

Publisher: Walker Children’s

Publication Date: June 2013

ISBN-10: 0802728227

ISBN-13: 978-0802728227

Interest Level: Ages 4 and up

Number of Pages: 40


5 responses to “Bogart and Vinnie: A Completely Made-up Story of True Friendship by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Henry Cole

  1. Pingback: Happy International Friendship Day! | Literary Friendships

  2. This sounds like a great book! The 3rd graders at my school do a unit in reading on friendship books. I will be sure to share this title with them. I love how the author shared how it might be used in a classroom. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. I love the idea! Will definitely be looking for this book. I appreciate you letting us know about it.
    -Laurette, My3DogsMom

    • You’re welcome, Laurette! I love that this one isn’t typical of the friendship books where two kids aren’t friends at first, then later learn to appreciate one another–this one has a devoted friend from the start, and one who’s less enthusiastic and only comes around later on. It really is adorable and funny. Thanks for stopping by!

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