The New Friend Fix

Aladdin. (Catalina Incognito: Bk. 2). Mar. 2022. 128p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534483071; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9781534483064.
Gr 1-4–Today is Catalina’s all-time favorite: it is the first day of third grade. Her backpack is stuffed and ready, and she is determined to be the first one to meet the new girl, Esme, and introduce her to everybody. But her plan goes awry when Esme’s cousin Jazmín mysteriously blocks all of Catalina’s, and Catalina’s “frenemy” Pablo’s attempts at becoming friends with Esme. Why? What has gone wrong? More importantly, how can Catalina and Pablo “fix” things so everyone will become friends? As with the previous series entry, themes of friendship and home abound, and much of the story is inspired by Torres’s Mexican American heritage. Translations of the author’s occasional use of Spanish words will please young readers who don’t speak Spanish and who will easily intuit their meanings from the story line, since this early chapter book does not include a vocabulary page. The liberal use of full-page illustrations will also help with understanding. Readers will relate to Catalina’s desire to make new friends and will be intrigued by the hints of mystery that are scattered throughout the story surrounding her efforts.
VERDICT This title is perfect for beginning chapter readers and will be a nice addition to a collection of early chapter books about friendship dynamics. Recommended purchase.

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