FALL IS FOR FRIENDS

Suzy Spafford, Author, Suzy Spafford, Illustrator
Suzy Spafford, Author, Suzy Spafford, Illustrator . Scholastic/Cartwheel $12.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-439-40185-2
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Spafford's (Little Suzy's Zoo series) popular, cuddly greeting-card critters star in this sunny if slight story about the arrival of autumn. For best pals Suzy Ducken and Emily Marmot, it just wasn't fall until "they took that first running leap [into piles of leaves]." But the season seems slow to change this year, so the friends devise some plans to give the leaves on the trees a little help. When cheerleading, coaxing and reciting magic spells all fail, the buddies pool their lung power for one last, ultimately successful, attempt. The writing lacks the color and verve of the art and focuses more on the girls' can-do attitude than on the autumnal pleasures the characters seek. But the watercolors, typified by sweet-faced animals in energetic stances, will give Spafford's admirers plenty to coo over. A visual story line about a squirrel onlooker adds extra dimension. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)

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