Annie is worried when her best friend, Lillemor, befriends Lilianne, the new girl at school.
Annie likes the fact that she and Lillemor have so much in common, which she enumerates in large faux handwritten letters. The fourth reason adds humor to the already lighthearted art and text, when Annie declares that the girls “can both speak another language.” A genuine Swedish phrase comes from Lillemor’s cartoon bubble, translated on the page as “I can speak Swedish,” but Annie’s bubble reads, “Maka looka Oinky Boinky,” translated as, “I can speak Oinky Boinky.” Annie is worried when, instead of receiving her usual hug from Lillemor as she arrives at school one day, she sees Lillemor jumping rope with Lilianne. Her alarm rises as she notes all of the commonalities the other two girls share. All three girls have large heads with friendly faces on small bodies, with differing skin tones and hairdos. The backgrounds are simple, brightly colored and cartoonlike, making good use of negative space. There is no doubt that a happy ending is coming; the silliness and the frequent translations of phrases in three languages (two legitimate and one made up) are what will keep readers engaged. Besides, who can resist reading aloud such phrases as, “Maka kooka Uugghhh!” and “Ooga booga meow!”?
With its familiar themes and fizzy text, this is one both listeners and readers will enjoy. (Picture book. 3-7)