Laurie B. Friedman, Author, Tamara Schmitz, Illustrator , illus. by Tamara Schmitz. Lerner/Carolrhoda $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-57505-538-1

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.)

Reviewed on: 03/01/2004
Release date: 01/01/2004
Prebound-Glued - 158 pages - 978-1-4177-9267-2
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-1-57505-831-3
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