Ira Crumb is “trustworthy, super helpful, and also really fun to be around”—but, having just moved, he is also “The New Kid.”
All Ira’s considerable confidence is put to the test by the prospect of having no friends on the first day of school. He decides to take pre-emptive action and “make friends BEFORE the first day of school.” Campaign signs and a lemonade stand attract attention, but learning that he’s serving pickles with his cheese sandwiches turns off potential friends. (The pickle’s frowny face echoes Ira’s dismay as the kids walk away.) A dance-off also fails to win him a friend, as does displaying huge quantities of cool. Readers will notice that one kid, a light-blue rabbit, seems interested in meeting Ira; his friendly overture goes for naught when Ira thinks his sandwich is talking to him instead. But on the first day of school, the rabbit, whose name is Malcolm, clears up the confusion, and a friendship is born. Hrab’s debut comes packed with wry whimsy that’s ably matched by Holinaty’s visuals. His characters are notably diverse, including talking animals such as Malcolm and animate foodstuffs as well as humans; Ira himself is a brown-skinned boy with a poof of black hair under his hoodie. The figures’ video-game aesthetic humorously emphasizes Ira’s competitive approach to friendship.
A valuable lesson in friendship, with walking
pickles on the side. (Picture book. 4-8)