Mallory’s friendship with Mary Ann is tested in this latest installment of the long-running series.
The girls enter a fashion design contest, and Mallory wins both a trip for four to New York City and a chance to model her outfit on the TV program that sponsored the competition. She and Mary Ann pinky swear that they will find a way to share the glory. First Mallory’s mother is persuaded to include Mary Ann and her mother in the foursome instead of Mallory’s dad and brother. This accomplished, they enjoy the excitement of the big city, meeting Fashion Fran and preparing for the big TV event. Mallory seems unable to come up with a workable way for including Mary Ann, though, and a rift develops between them. Of course all is forgiven when Mallory’s brilliant new idea allows her friend to have her own moment on the runway. Mallory, now 10 1/2, narrates her adventures in an easy, breezy manner. Kalis’ black-and-white cartoon illustrations pleasantly complement the proceedings. Friedman aims her tale at an audience of middle graders, and this undemanding entry will please the series’ fans. There is a disquieting acceptance and admiration of bratty behavior and manipulation in the girls’ antics that will probably not be addressed or even noted by young readers.
Slight and formulaic. (Fiction.7-10)