cover image Rachel Parker, Kindergarten Show-Off

Rachel Parker, Kindergarten Show-Off

Ann Matthews Martin. Holiday House, $16.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0935-8

Five-year-old Olivia is excited to learn that the family moving in next door includes a girl who is just her age. But when Rachel Elizabeth joins Olivia's kindergarten class, Olivia is no longer the only one who can read and write. Not only that, but the newcomer has two first names, a grandfather who gives out candy, an adorable baby sister and her very own puppet theater. The competitiveness between the girls makes for some amusing exchanges: when Rachel announces that she is writing a story, Olivia counters with the fact that she is writing a book, which Rachel tops by saying that she wrote a book the previous year, ``when I was four.'' A showdown at the playground leads to the inevitable resolution of the strife, and the two youngsters end up fast friends. Olivia's first-person narrative, chatty and comic, imparts a breath of fresh air to a common situation. (Commendably, no point is made of the fact that Olivia is African American while her eventual pal is white.) Filled with entertaining touches, Poydar's true-to-life illustrations scattered throughout the text adroitly capture the girls' changeable emotions. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)