Following Anna, Banana, and the Friendship Split (2015), Anna must iron out the friendship wrinkles created when her duo becomes a trio.
Anna’s happy to be friends with Sadie again, and she’s glad to have another best friend in Isabel—she wants Sadie and Isabel to be best friends as well. Their field trip to the zoo gets off to a bad start for the three as a unit, though: the bus driver won’t allow more than two to a seat, putting Anna in the position of having to pick which friend to sit with. That sets the tone for the rest of their trip, as Sadie and Isabel jockey for the position of Anna’s favorite, and Anna contorts herself to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. When Anna speaks up, the girls decide on a formalized system of parity for their group, resulting in three-way disappointment till Anna’s father, a romance novelist, helps her parse the nuances of fairness. After this, the group dynamic slides into harmony in an overly convenient wrap-up. The humor is stronger in this installment than before, with poop jokes for child readers and Anna’s father’s job as a nugget of humor for adults helping the child readers. (Anna’s mom spouts business-speak.) Anna is depicted as dark-skinned in Park’s cover illustration, Isabel is Latina, and Sadie is a freckled Caucasian girl.
Readers should find this gentle conflict easy to relate to. (Fiction. 6-10)