FICTION

Flabbersmashed About You

illus. by Yumi Heo. 32p. CIP. Feiwel & Friends. July 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-312-61345-7. LC 2011004079.
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PreS-Gr 2—Self-described as a "really friendly kid" who goes on "lots of playdates," Katie Honors, protagonist of Sometimes I'm Bombaloo! (2002) and Jibberwhillies at Night (2008, both Scholastic), characteristically gives a straight-talking exploration of how it feels when her best friend's allegiance momentarily shifts to someone else. Jennifer decides to build forts and "kill the bad guys" with Roy on the playground, leaving Katie feeling flabbersmashed-and alone. Boiling with anger, she resorts to physical interference ("I chopped their hands apart") and yelling when Jennifer and Roy line up together after recess. Meanwhile, classmate Arabella, "who just moved here and hardly talks at all," stands alone and quietly offers her hand to Katie… and a not-exactly-the-same, but promising, friendship takes root. Young children will relate to Katie's thoughts and emotions, the range and intensity of which are effectively mirrored in varied design perspectives, font sizes, and colors. Bold strokes of thick, textured paint render the playground setting and youngsters' faces and feelings in childlike simplicity; the attractive textile patterns in their clothing easily define each character. This is a fresh, inviting, and altogether useful presentation of a perennial childhood predicament from a familiar, trusted source-Katie Honors.—Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT
Best friends Katie and Jennifer were inseparable. Then Jennifer chooses to play with Roy at recess and Katie is so "flabbersmashed" that her "whole self felt like a bruise." The first-person narration and emotive child-inspired art astutely capture the anger and hurt of a child being left out, as well as Katie's relief at the kindness of her new "walk-in-from-recess buddy."

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