Parents' Guide to


By Megan McDonald, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Fifth-grade girls learn tolerance and compassion.

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In her unique tone and style, Virginia Hamilton tells the story of an uncommon friendship among three girls. The story is told in short episodes of third-person narrative, interrupted by Dreenie's first-person journal entries. This shift in perspective is sometimes confusing because the journal entries include events in real time and dialogue, rather than staying inside Dreenie's mind as observations.

A few of the scenes are stilted and border on didactic, as when the teacher explains Bluish's illness to the class and when her classmates learn about the dreidel. Hamilton's strength is in her language innovations, the way she tweaks a single word in a sentence to give it sound and personality. She never dwells on illness and cancer; rather, she reaches across it to explore the intricacies of friendship despite differences.

Book Details

  • Author: Virginia Hamilton
  • Genre: Friendship
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
  • Publication date: January 1, 1999
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
  • Number of pages: 127
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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