Laurie Friedman is the author of the popular Mallory series, The Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair series, and many award-winning picture books. She lives in Florida. As an illustrator, Tamara Schmitz is well known to the many elementary-grade fans of Laurie Friedman's Mallory chapter books. Tamara grew up one of six children in the small town of Carey, Ohio. She graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design, and spent her early career as an art director in advertising, teaching art, and illustrating greeting cards. Schmitz addresses a topic close to her own heart in her original self-illustrated picture book Standing on My Own Two Feet: A Child's Affirmation of Love in the Midst of Divorce. Sitting at her desk for too many hours, however, drives Tamara crazy. So in her free time she works on getting her third degree black belt in Taekwondo. Tamara resides in Cincinnati with her husband, two children, and stepson.
Spinning a spry variation on a familiar theme, Friedman launches a series starring a spunky eight-year-old who is not happy about her family's impending move. Mallory makes a determined attempt to avoid the inevitable, reciting for her patient mother the day-by-day agenda that she and her best friend, Mary Ann, have devised, concluding, "As you can see from this very busy schedule, I don't have time to move this summer.... Sorry. Maybe we can talk again in the fall." The heroine's chatty first-person narrative brims with similarly flip comments and asides, as Mallory trades barbs with her caustic 10-year-old brother, grumbles that her new bedroom is so small that she "[does not] think there's enough air" for her and her beloved cat (as she writes to Mary Ann), and develops a friendship with Joey, her new neighbor (despite the fact that she has solemnly pledged a "pinkie swear" to Mary Ann that she will "never be friends with any boy next door"). The plot proceeds at a perky pace as she and Joey devise pranks to pay back their self-absorbed older siblings; Mallory copes with her divided loyalty between her two friends; and, when Mary Ann comes to visit, is afraid to divulge the fact that she's broken her "pinkie swear." Readers may groan at many of Mallory's relentless jokes, yet they'll find her-and Joey-likable characters worth revisiting. Ages 7-10. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Gr 2-4-Despite "Operation-Convince-My-Mom-that-Moving-and-Leaving -Behind-My-Best-Friend-Is-a-Bad-Idea," eight-year-old Mallory's parents go forward with their plans. On Wish Pond Road, three hours away from her best friend, all of the houses look alike but there is a wishing pond that she can't wait to try out. Even though she pinkie swore with Mary Ann that she wouldn't play with the boy next door, Mallory has fun with Joey. When Mary Ann comes to visit, Mallory must learn how to balance both friendships. Large-type print, an open format, and humorous illustrations make the book accessible to newly confident chapter-book readers. Mallory is an appealing character who deserves a place alongside Junie B. Jones, Judy Moody, Amber Brown, and Clarice Bean. This amusing offering makes a good choice for youngsters who are adjusting to new environs.-Debbie Stewart Hoskins, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.