cover image Sycamore Street

Sycamore Street

C. B. Christiansen. Atheneum Books, $13.95 (42pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31784-2

This sprightly story celebrates friendships new and old. Best friends Chloe and Angel play pretend, trick-or-treat on Halloween, ice-skate in the winter and dedicate themselves to the glorious cause of ignoring their new neighbor Rupert Raguso. But when Angel goes away on vacation, lonely Chloe discovers that Rupert isn't so bad after all. The gently instructive tale ends on an upbeat note, as Chloe writes a pretend postcard that says, ``Dear Angel, Alakabam-Kazoo! We have a new friend on Sycamore Street.'' Compassionate Chloe, bossy Angel, and the wonderfully persistent Rupert are clearly drawn characters with whom children will identify. The story saunters along just fast enough, thanks to the concise, often humorous dialogue. The daintiness of Sweet's watercolors is belied by their vigor. Particularly effective are the swirling, midnight blue washes that serve as backdrops to the nighttime Halloween scenes. Ages 6-8. (Sept.)