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A NEW FRIEND by Lucy Menzies


by Lucy Menzies ; illustrated by Maddy Vian

Pub Date: June 7th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-7112-7571-3
Publisher: Frances Lincoln

To be or not to be…a friend?

This book’s innovative “One Book, Two Stories” design, featuring two parallel stories on each spread, presents protagonists Mae, a brown-skinned, dark-haired Muslim girl (Mom is depicted wearing a hijab), and Joe, a blond, White boy who’s moved into the neighborhood with his dad. Ebullient, outgoing Mae can’t wait to befriend and play with her new neighbor; she even has a welcoming, illustrated letter to give him. Wary Joe, though shy about his newcomer status, wouldn’t mind making new friends. Scouring the busy schoolyard, Mae asks if anyone’s seen the new kid. Meanwhile, Joe wants to join the fun but, feeling ignored, hides at the bottom of the slide’s enclosed tunnel and wistfully reminisces about old friends. Temporarily abandoning her search, Mae whooshes down the slide and collides harmlessly into guess who?—and a new friendship is born. Mae’s and Joe’s winsome, simply expressed narratives, written in first person, should ideally be read one after the other, page by page. Reading them aloud in tandem as the book proceeds permits audiences to pick up on and compare and contrast these characters’ differing behaviors, points of view, and emotions from the outset. Colorful, appealing illustrations deftly portray big-eyed Mae and Joe and their energetic activities; schoolmates are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nothing new, but a sweet, reassuring tale about making friends.

(Picture book. 3-7)