Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's Your Birthday; I'll Cry If I Want To: Best Best Friends by Margaret Chodos-Irvine

Mary and Clare are the best of friends who greet each other with hugs every day at their preschool. But when Mary celebrates her fourth birthday, Clare feels left out, her importance as best friend seriously diminished.

Mary gets hugs from everybody, sits beside the teacher instead of Clare at storytime, and gets to be first in line for playtime, leaving Clare far behind. Mary wears a golden crown and passes out pink cupcakes, a perfect match for her pink dress, shoes and socks, at snacktime.

Finally, Clare has had enough. At playtime she can't resist giving a prick to Mary's birthday bubble:

"If it was my birthday, I would have yellow cupcakes with yellow sprinkles.
Yellow is prettier than plain old pink."

Mary looks down at her pink ensemble and even lifts her pink skirt to contemplate her pink panties printed with daisies. "You're not nice!" Mary tells Clare.

The hurt grows until both girls together yell "YOU ARE NOT MY FRIEND!"

The two ex-best friends studiously ignore each other until after rest time. Having napped on the matter, though, a repentent Clare crayons an appropriately yellow AND pink birthday cake with four candles for Mary. Mary graciously accepts the token of apology and by the day's end, the two part as best best best best friends.

Chodos-Irvine, the author/illustrator of the Caldecott Honor Book Ella Sarah Gets Dressed, uses simple, flat, bright-colored prints to tell this simple, sweet story of the triumph of loyalty and friendship over jealousy between two preschoolers. Kids as young as three or four can easily identify with the emotions of both of these characters and will appreciate their reconciliation with a sigh of relief!

Best Best Friends was named a 2007 ALA Notable Book.



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