Sorrel and the Sleepover

illus. by Susan Varley. 32p. Barron's. Aug. 2018. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781438050560.
PreS-Gr 1—Two young squirrel friends learn that their differences make them special. When Sorrel meets Sage, she is delighted to have found a friend who is exactly like her; but at a sleepover at Sage's house, Sorrel realizes that they might not be exactly the same after all. Unlike Sage's expansive oaken home, Sorrel and her mother live in a tree that is small and slim, and she doesn't have any aunties and cousins living close by. Afraid that Sage will discover their differences, Sorrel makes up excuse after excuse to avoid having a sleepover. When Sage does eventually visit Sorrel's home, her kind reaction and appreciation to their differences prove to Sage that their friendship is based on more than just their similarities. Gentle watercolor-and–line drawings bring the cozy forest world to life. Sage and Sorrel are drawn as two nearly identical grey squirrels and they and their forest home and particularly their tree-homes are drawn with delightful detail in soft pastel watercolor and pen illustrations. The bold black text on white background allows for easy reading and the text conveys Sorrel's apprehension and outlandish excuses with simple charm.
VERDICT An excellent story to encourage children embarking on new friendships or experiences to be their true selves and a reminder that it takes bravery to open up and share our differences. Great for a friendship-themed storytime or one-on-one sharing.

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