48 Grasshopper Estates

Annick. Apr. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781773214849.
Gr 2-4–Sicily Bridges lives with her mother in a brownstone where most of her neighbors are elderly. While her mother works, Sicily is left in the care of Mrs. Rubenstein. Her kindly neighbor gives Sicily the space to exercise her active imagination. As Sicily wanders the building, she decides that many of her neighbors could use something special: a friend. Sicily loves to invent, and on this day, decides to make a friend for each of her neighbors. She constructs friends from soup cans, watering cans, polka-dot fabric, string, tape, hot glue, and more. Each neighbor is thrilled to receive such a surprise, and by the time she delivers a special gift to everyone, Sicily finds a surprise herself: a friend her own age. Medina’s artwork features a pleasingly pastel color palette. The building feels real and lived in. Sicily is brown-skinned and the other residents, young and old, are depicted with a range of skin tones and physical abilities. There is some nice repetition of sound effects, like the knocking on doors, and dialogue is well chosen and authentic. However, the text often narrates what is already apparent in the illustrations.
VERDICT This is a touching story about imagination and compassion that belongs in most collections, for read-alouds or for emerging readers.

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