A little girl squirrel tries to hide the ways that she and her best friend are different.
Sorrel and Sage are simpatico school friends who love being alike. The trouble starts when Sage invites Sorrel to a sleepover. Sage’s home tree, a lush evergreen, is larger and houses lots more relatives than Sorrel’s. Ashamed and worried, Sorrel makes a series of creative excuses to avoid inviting Sage to her house. When their play takes them near Sorrel’s tree one day, however, Sage finds the old “broken and bumpy” cherry tree where Sorrel lives with her mother completely charming. Delightful ink-and-watercolor paintings create a cozy, decidedly British, and mostly old-fashioned world. The rabbit schoolteacher rings a hand bell, female characters are shown in skirts, and Sorrel and Sage carry satchels, but one picture shows a smartphone plugged in to charge. The airy, pastoral feel and engaging anthropomorphic characters keep the tone light and prevent the purposive plot from feeling preachy. The relatively lengthy text doesn’t quite measure up to the quality of the artwork; occasional rhymes seem out of place, and a lot of alliteration can make it somewhat awkward to read aloud.
The affirming message offers an important lesson about the joys of heterogeneity, so young listeners will likely enjoy making the acquaintance of Sorrel and Sage and pondering with them what makes a perfect friendship. (Picture book. 4-7)