Manolo is a lonely Chicano fifth grader in San Francisco who prays for a friend; Clem is a black youngster who moves next door with his granny when his parents are killed in a car accident. Mutually hostile at first, they gradually become friends -- thanks partly to some older toughs who hassle them both, at one point roughing them up in a stolen car and turning Clem loose without his clothes. There is some misunderstanding between the families but then Granny saves the life of Manolo's baby brother and soon there's harmony all round. Of course the boys' feelings are invariably reported before readers can form their own and the word ""friend"" is repeated with embarrassing frequency. Still, where there's room for more of those worthy little stories in the vein of Peggy Mann's Carlos series, those mean older boys will keep the action from sagging and the sentiment from making a puddle on Treat Street.