HOORAY! A Starred Review For Old Friends!
I am delighted to share that OLD FRIENDS has received a STARRED review from the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books! Here is what they had to say:
Marjorie loves gardening, knitting, and baking, but her beloved Granny is no longer here to share those activities and help with garden pests, tangled knitting, and sunken scones. Other kids her age don’t get nearly excited about Marjorie’s interests, so when she sees a sign for the community center’s Senior Citizen Friends Group, she wonders if she might find a new friend there—the advertised gardening and crafting seem right up her alley, though she might sidestep the promised dancing. The pesky receptionist tries to steer her to the kids club, so Marjorie sneaks in wearing “cardigan camouflage,” with flour whitening her hair, glasses perched on her nose, and a spritz of lavender perfume. As “Undercover Granny,” Marjorie receives a warm welcome from the seniors, who share new knitting skills, gardening tips, and recipes until it’s time to cha-cha-cha. Dancing turns out to be such fun that Marjorie doesn’t notice her disguise has slipped until it’s too late. Her new friends stop her getaway attempt with assurances that she’s welcome, and they let her in on a secret: “On the outside we may look old, but on the inside, we still feel like kids. Just like you.” Wen’s illustrations bring joyful energy to Aitken’s text, rendering the multiracial members of the Senior Citizen Friends Group in bright pencil and watercolor textures, and the playful scenes are full of motion and color. Auburn-haired and rosy-cheeked, Marjorie will likely be relatable to introverted kids who might feel like they have more in common with the adults around them than their playmates, and while Marjorie’s grief underlays the story, her memories of Granny are full of warmth and joy. This celebration of intergenerational friendship is ultimately a comforting tale, like a cozy knit cardigan or a warm berry crisp, perfect for a lapsit or a Grandparents’ Day read-aloud.