Friday, February 15, 2019

Vive La Difference! Sorrel and the Sleepover by Corrinne Averiss

Sorrel had never had a friend who was just the same, until she met Sage.

Squirrel girls Sorrel and Sage share the same favorite games and songs at school. They finish each other's sentences. They even have the exact same stripes on their tails.

So Sorrel is pleased when she gets an invitation to spend the night with Sage. What could go wrong? They are just alike.

But Sage's house is different--a huge fir tree with a thick trunk and lots of branches, filled with lots and lots of grownup family and dozens of cousins!

"I can't wait to stay at your house next time," said Sage.

Sorrel squirmed....

Sorrel's house is very different from Sage's. The trunk of her tree is skinny and wobbly in the wind. The branches are lumpy and some are broken. And Sorrel lives there alone with only her mother.

"Best friends don't have differences," Sorrel thought.

Sorrell comes up with some, er, creative reasons why she can't invite Sage can't come over: Her mom has come down with an upset stomach from eating bad nuts; a crowd of cousins are coming for the weekend; a water pipe has broken and flooded the kitchen. Finally, Sorrel comes up with a whopper: her mom has just painted their tree pink and they can't touch the wet paint.

But the next day, as Sage and Sorrel play hide-and-squeak, the wind blows a bunch of pink petals their way. Sage scampers off excitedly toward the source of the petals.

"This must be from your house. It's so... BEAUTIFUL!"

And Sorrel's modest little tree is beautiful, loaded with pink blossoms. Her mother invites Sage in for tea, and when Sage politely compliments her friend's mother on her choice of paint, the truth comes out. Sorrel explains that she was afraid Sage wouldn't be her friend if she knew her house was so different.

"You're so lucky. I don't know anyone who sleeps in pink clouds!" says Sage.

There's a insightful little lesson into what makes for good friends in Corrinne Averiss' Sorrel and the Sleepover (Barron's, 2018). Despite the cell phone which can be spotted on one page, artist Susan Varley's charming soft ink and water-colored illustrations stick to a muted retro style that alternates between spot-art on the verso pages and full-frame pictures on each recto, and her gentle jumper- and plaid-clad schoolgirl squirrels perfectly suit this quiet story of friendship found.

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