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THE FRIENDLY FOUR by Eloise Greenfield


by Eloise Greenfield & illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: June 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-000759-1
Publisher: HarperCollins

Four new friends turn a dull summer around with creative projects and energetic play. Greenfield’s form gets attention right away; the narrative unfolds via 34 free-verse poems in six parts, beginning with “One. Drummond.” Drum introduces himself and describes his boredom, perking up when a new family moves in down the street. Drum and the new kid, Doreen, play a series of games. Their bright verses (and many that follow) could also be viewed as short scenes, suitable for classroom use. Louis comes next, then Rae. Each voice has its own color—red, green, blue and purple—as they talk to each other and plan. The quartet is crackling with ideas, like a makeshift town made out of cardboard and paint in Drum’s back yard. They act out various scenarios in their town’s many establishments. Gilchrist’s watercolor illustrations work in harmony with the text, in a variety of configurations vis-à-vis the verse. All that can end this summer idyll is the start of a new school year. A lively tribute to children’s imagination as well as an inviting introduction to free verse. (Picture book. 5-9)