In the Redfeather series, an easy-to-read chapter book--with short lines of text, rather than paragraphs--that highlights a boy's small triumphs and his camaraderie with his friend, Isobel, his budding friendship with the ""mean"" neighbor next door, and his affection for his mother. The first story involves a bet between Bertie and his friend Isobel: Either he retrieves his ball from mean Old Man Muckleberg's yard by the agreed-upon deadline, or he'll have to buy her a hot fudge sundae. He consults a library book for lessons in making friends, with the wished-for results. Bertie is not as enterprising in learning to play the saxophone, however, quitting in frustration until the arrival of his fairy godfather. Finally, Bertie is a bit of a whiner when he can't find a favorite bowling ball for a match with his mother. The well-evoked setting and a mild lesson on adapting to circumstances add up to above-average fare from Brisson (Wanda's Roses, 1994, etc.). In tidy, comic black-and-white illustrations, Bluthenthal chooses major scenes and vignettes with real flair, adding to the humor in her depictions of Bertie's laid-back approach as well as the manners and the stances of the other characters. Funny and sweet.