Clara finds herself left out when her best friend, Annabelle, gets close to Juliette, the new girl.
Clara herself tells the story. Her life used to be perfect, mostly because of her “wonderful, brilliant, very best friend,” Annabelle. They were inseparable. Their parents even said that they were “soul sisters.” But everything changes when the new girl, Juliette, walks into their classroom. Clara isn’t worried at first, but when Annabelle and Juliette walk to recess hand in hand, Clara’s knees go weak. “There can’t be THREE soul sisters!” (It’s clearly “mathematically impossible.”) Clara feels as if she has begun “to shrink…and shrivel…until [she becomes] very, very, very small.” She comes up with three diabolical plans to get rid of Juliette (one consists of dumping her insect collection on Juliette) but just sits on the bench in the hallway and cries. When Annabelle’s kite gets stuck in a tree, Clara climbs it without even thinking. A breaking branch leads to a hard fall and then to a visit to the doctor. Later, Annabelle brings Clara a big box of chocolate-covered cherries—her favorite. Juliette arrives shortly after with a gift as well. Clara realizes that there can be three soul sisters. Chaperon captures the openness and fragility of childhood with a valuable lesson. Iris’ childlike illustrations add charm and age-appropriate emotion. Her cast of cartoon animal characters with human clothes and hairstyles recalls Marc Brown’s Arthur without feeling imitative.
Simply sweet. (Picture book. 3-6)