cover image The Sandwich Swap

The Sandwich Swap

Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, with Kelly DiPucchio, illus. by Tricia Tusa. . Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (28pp) ISBN 978-1-4231-2484-9

In her author's note, Jordanian royal Al Abdullah explains that an incident from her childhood inspired this story about best friends who do everything together at school, including eat lunch. Lily's choice of sandwich is peanut butter and jelly while Salma's is hummus on pita, and each girl thinks the other's fare is “weird” or “gross.” When Lily finally vocalizes her opinion, the two exchange heated words, leading schoolmates to take sides and toss out nastier insults (“You look funny! You dress dumb!”), eventually escalating into a messy, cafeteria-wide food fight. Message trumps realism: the speed with which the girls make peace—after sampling one another's sandwiches—is as unlikely as the food fight itself. A foldout spread amplifies the readily apparent themes of acceptance and sharing, as the girls and their classmates enjoy a buffet of international foods. Featuring pastel hues, Tusa's (Fred Stays with Me! ) wispy mixed-media artwork assuredly depicts the bond between the protagonists and adds dollops of humor—such as the food that gets wedged into the stern lunch lady's bouffant—to this well-intentioned if predictable story. Ages 3–7. (Apr.)