Nixie Ness: Cooking Star

illus. by Grace Zong. 128p. Holiday House. Jun. 2019. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780823440931.
Gr 2–5—Third grade comes to an abrupt halt when Nixie Ness is forced to attend the after-school program because her mother is going back to work. What will happen to all the memorable afternoons Nixie was going to spend with her BFF Grace? Unfortunately, Grace cannot attend the after-school program, and, to Nixie's dismay, she will be spending time with another classmate, Elyse, and her cuddly kitten. Although Nixie attends the program reluctantly, she eventually finds she is capable of making new friends. Cooking Camp turns out to be a blast, and Nixie surprises herself by opening up to new possibilities. Vera, Boogie Bass, and Nolan turn out to be reliable friends, ones Nixie would probably not have bothered to get to know if she hadn't been a part of the camp. Nixie also realizes that Elyse is not out to steal Grace away from her and finds contentment in knowing that friendship comes in many varieties.
VERDICT Young readers will easily relate to this wholesome look at early friendships and conflicts.

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