Ira Crumb Makes a Pretty Good Friend

illus. by Josh Holinaty. 32p. Owlkids. Aug. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781771471718. POP
PreS-Gr 2—What's worse than starting school again in September? Starting school as the new kid. But Ira Crumb has a plan! He is convinced that he makes a pretty good friend, and comedy ensues as he tries to prove his point over and over again with no success, but his attempts will have young readers chuckling. Ira is so excited to become friends with someone that he starts interacting with readers right on the front cover of the book, shouting out "Hiii!" in a large speech bubble. Ira can also be impatient, as evidenced on the book's front flap, where he implores readers to "turn the page already, and let's be besties!" Even though Ira has all the makings of a great best friend, his over-the-top enthusiasm wreaks havoc with his friendship attempts. Turns out the other kids don't like pickles (Ira loves them), exuberant dance-offs, or feigned indifference. Cartoonish illustrations feature human and nonhuman characters, and the inclusion of speech bubbles and split-page illustrations give a comic-book flair to Ira's quest. A miscommunication among Ira, Malcolm, and a talking sandwich named Phillip will have young readers giggling as they get the joke before Ira does, leading to satifying tension when, on the first day of school, a gloomy Ira is told to sit next to… Malcolm! Readers will be happy to predict what comes next: the makings of a pretty good friendship indeed.
VERDICT A fast-moving text that speaks to the fear children have about being the new kid anywhere in life, this title will be especially welcome on the shelves for back-to-school storytimes and shared readings.

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