THE GIRLS by Lauren Ace


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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A picture-book affirmation of female friendship.

Four girls—Sasha, Lottie, Alice, and Leela—become friends in childhood. They designate an apple tree their Secret Meeting Place, and here they play and form fast bonds that sustain them through the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that mark their lives. Throughout, the text offers general statements about those life events while cheery, colorful, cartoon-style illustrations provide specificity. For example, above text that reads, “They worked hard,” an accompanying illustration shows Alice in a cap and gown, jumping for joy while holding a diploma. Another scene says the girls “always took pride in their friendship” and shows them with their arms about one another and raising rainbow flags aloft as they march in a queer pride parade. This pictorial reference to queerness is extended in Sasha’s subplot, when she is depicted as an adult with her arm around another woman as they gaze at a little house. Ultimately, this could read like an aspirational vision of friendship for girls, but it will likely also find a readership among women who see their own bonds reflected. Sasha appears black, with brown skin and afro-puffs; Lottie and Alice both present white; and Leela is South Asian, with brown skin and straight, black hair. Although the ostensible audience is children, this book also has gift potential among adult women.

A veritable gal-entine. (Picture book. 5-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 21st, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-9848-9651-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Rodale Kids
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2019


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