The five friends from Ritchie’s mapping expedition (Follow That Map!, 2009) now explore their community, helping out along the way.
A local street fair to raise money for books and computers for the public library is the means by which Ritchie moves the five friends around the town, introducing community topics, helpers and locations. Though this “street fair” is less a street filled with food vendors, art, entertainment and schlock-hockers than a community open house, it will still hold kids’ interest and introduce them to some vital members of the neighborhood. In double-page spreads that address topics such as shopping locally (at yard sales), waiting in line, donating time and money, supporting local businesses, cleaning up and beautifying the neighborhood, and appreciating the elderly, the five friends explain, deliver tips and ask readers questions that will get them thinking about their own communities and how they can identify them, participate in them and make them stronger. An activity in the backmatter gives directions for turning a community drawing into a jigsaw puzzle. As a bonus, readers can seek and find each of the five friends in the busy spreads; though they lack the chaos of Waldo’s adventures, there are many details to amuse.
An excellent addition for the community shelf, this minimizes didacticism while encompassing many aspects of the topic that are missing from other entries. (glossary, table of contents) (Informational picture book. 4-8)