cover image Not Really Buddies (Buddy and Bea #1)

Not Really Buddies (Buddy and Bea #1)

Jan Carr, illus. by Kris Mukai. Peachtree, $14.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-68263-534-6

A bumpy first day of second grade heralds new friendships, nerve-wracking experiences, and ample commotion in this energetic chapter book series launch. Buddy Finn-Lee, who has round glasses and a stubborn cowlick, and whose dads describe him as a “poky little daydreamer,” has been excited about being in class 2-108 all summer, eager to see his friends from first grade and the cool teacher who takes students bird-watching. Buddy is disappointed when new teacher Ms. Maple introduces herself as class 2-108’s instructor, but a schoolroom surprise soon emerges in the form of Bea, a boisterous new student with plenty of forthright questions to ask. As Bea asserts herself as Buddy’s new pal, Buddy finds himself being corralled into myriad humorous hijinks, resulting in unwanted attention from the whole school. Accompanying b&w illustrations by debut cartoonist Mukai depict an always-moving student body rendered with varying skin tones. Carr (Star of the Party) employs cheerful wordplay, situational comedy, and classic personality clashes in this bustling story which offers glimpses of Buddy’s and Bea’s inner lives and lays the groundwork for future installments. Ages 5–8. Agent: Andrea Cascardi, Transatlantic Literary. (July)