Anna, Banana, and the Friendship Split

9781481416054. ea vol: illus. by Meg Park. 128p. (Anna, Banana). S. & S. Tr. $15.99.
Gr 3–5—The first two titles in a new chapter book series by debut author Anica Rissi feature third grader Anna, her dog Banana, and her two best friends, Sadie and Isabel. In Anna, Banana and the Friendship Split, readers meet Anna and Sadie as the two are celebrating Anna's birthday. Anna hopes to use her birthday wish on a trip to Water World, but Sadie encourages her to wish for a pony. When Anna opens a present from her grandparents, she finds a glittery pony necklace inside—her wish came true! Yet Sadie grabs the necklace, and proceeds to wear it. Anna and Sadie begin to argue and Sadie storms off—with Anna's new necklace. The rest of the book follows Anna as she alternates between being mad and feeling sad at losing Sadie as her best friend. The simple plot picks up very quickly in order to provide a resolution. In Anna, Banana and the Monkey in the Middle, Anna and Sadie have apologized and gained a mutual new best friend in Isabel. Anna is excited to go on the class trip to the zoo, but trouble quickly brews again as both Sadie and Isabel want to sit with Anna on the bus. Anna begins to realize that having two best friends can be hard. The characters begin to come into their own more in this second title, with Anna's family providing her with a strong support system and logic to help realize that "having two best friends doesn't mean cutting yourself in half to hand out two smaller pieces." Black-and-white interior artwork is included throughout both books. Fans Sara Pennypacker's Clementine, Hilary McKay's Lulu, and Anna Branford's Violet Mackerel will enjoy meeting Anna and her friends.
VERDICT Consider adding in libraries where simple chapter book series are popular.

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