FICTION

Agnes and Clarabelle

GRIFFIN, Adele & . illus. by Sara Palacios. 80p. Bloomsbury. Apr. 2016. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781619631373; pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781619631380.
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K-Gr 2—This new title in the "Read & Bloom" line of Bloomsbury's early chapter books follows two unusual best friends, a chicken named Clarabelle and a pig named Agnes. Clarabelle is afraid of new things and a bit of a worrywart, while Agnes relishes challenges and enjoys helping her feathered friend. The book is divided into four chapters—one for each season of the year. Whether at the beach or shopping for shoes in a large department store, Agnes helps Clarabelle overcome her fear of new situations and find the bright side. Cheerful, full-color illustrations grab the attention of newly independent readers, while the short, episodic chapters move at a good pace. The ratio of illustrations to text varies to include pages of text only, illustration only, and a mixture; the variety helps pull readers along.
VERDICT An engaging visual design, charming characters, and funny, relatable story lines make this a lovely addition to chapter book collections.

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