There's a new girl in the third-grade, and for some reason, she brings out the worst in Molly. If only Molly's cross-country pen pal, Olive, were there. But Olive's got her OWN set of troubles with her new gymnastics team. As both girls struggle to make new friends, their dishonest emails and letters to each other threaten their relationship. First-person narratives that alternate point-of-view from chapter to chapter bring the main characters to life.
This is wonderful little chapter book, tells the tale of two best-friend pen pals lives. Each girl encounters trouble. Friendship is on the edge as each learns to deal with their own issues but trust each others advice.
The issue of bullying is addressed head-on throughout this entire book. It is well written and can be easily understood by young readers. Bullying is such a tough subject to write because there are all types but the author did a nice job of highlighting the issue. She also managed to show how often the bullies themselves have also been subject to bullying. Overall, she makes it clear to be true to self.
The author ties up the book with a nice tidy bow but unfortunately, it is often not that way. I think I would have liked to have seen some safe websites at the end that kids (or adults) could access if they had questions or concerns. I will say that the author had discussion questions at the end and that was a good thing for further discussion.
Illustrations for the book were extremely girly. The illustrator used black pen illustraions of the girls and their new friends. These were few as again, the book is a chapter book. However, cute doodles were throughout. The only disappointment I had here was that the book was not in color. The book is meant to be multicultural which is well illustrated on the pink cover; then, the illustrations inside are in black and white. That caused a bit of confusion for me and may for children reading the book.
Overall, I liked the book but do recommend the above. 4 stars.
Find below some activities that I created that could be used with this book.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~M.M. Hudson
Activities for the book:
1. Have your children sign up for a pen pal near or far. Google for a variety of kid-friendly sites. Then get to writing.
2. In the book, Molly and Olive have a special friendship necklace. Get out your art supplies and make a special necklace for new pen pals.
3. Discuss the questions in the back.
4. Have a talent show in your back yard. Invite your children's friends and new kids at school.
5. Learn the game 4 square.
6. Help your child create welcome packs for new kids at school.