THE TWO FRIENDS by Grete Mannheim


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This one proclaims its purpose on the cover -- a Negro and a white girl deep in a kindergarten confab -- and never assumes the contours of a story. Out of the mouths of babes comes such pat patter as ""We are neighbors and we can be friends"" (white Nancy); ""I'm your friend. Friends help each other"" (black Jenny). After that firs euphoric day at school comes a long afternoon and evening in Jenny's apartment (Daddy home early because he's broken his thumb, big sister Vera making dinner, the whole family playing Old Maid) that does nothing except show that they're normal; certainly it creeps on at a petty pace. The next afternoon Jenny and Nancy and Jenny's sister and Nancy's cousin go to the library; nothing much happens then either except that Nancy's aunt buys ice cream cones for the girls ""to celebrate the beginning of the school term with new friends."" As contrived as this is, it's not balanced; Nancy makes the overtures to shy Jenny, her mother is the one who bandages sister Selma's finger and doles out chocolate bars, both the teacher and the librarian are white. Deliberate integration and so's the speed.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1968
Publisher: Knopf