Finding My Friend is like finding a beautiful, rare and unique gem in a pile of pebbles.
There is not enough information to be found online about the amazing author / illustrator Beatrice Alemagna. Her website homepage looks promising but is not yet completed. I did find a one paragraph biography about her in Italian and from it I could decipher that she was born in Bologna, Italy in 1973, studied art in Italy and Paris in 1993 and has exhibited her work in Tokyo, Milan, Paris, Munich, Rome and a few other European cities. I would love to see an exhibit of her work here in the US. (So Beatrice, if you should happen to read this blog post, please come exhibit here because your work is inspiring and unlike anything I've seen before.)
My Friend is about "a most unusual animal" who has fur like a dog and is shaped like a sheep. He or she or rather, "it" is mistaken and labeled as a cat, monkey, rat, pigeon, lion, and dog. While everyone is busy trying to place a label/identity on this animal, there is one little character (who looks like a cross between a bunny/iguana/dog) who just wants to play. But "Don't you want to know what I am?" asks the animal. " I know what you are. You are my friend." Such a perfect little lesson on individuality, diversity and tolerance.
Beatrice has other picture books in print in the as well. Illustration is Good has a small review of her picture book titled Gisele de Verre. I'm really not sure how many books she has in print since her books are rare and hard to find in the U.S. but I did find another one titled Un Leon en Paris on flickr. Someday I hope to own them all.