Absolutely Alfie and the First Week Friends — Review

Thought for the Day:

“I like to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.”

~ Stephen King ~`

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Getting the passive voice out of our writing and using the active voice is so important. HERE is a good article from Just Publishing Advice about free tools that will really help with that.

I always have some picture book manuscripts in the works. The post HERE from Writers Digest gives picture book writers 7 Ways to Structure Your Picture Book.

Anne R. Allen can help you avoid clichéd emotional responses in your writing with a very rich post HERE.

Last week I offered a copy of Leonardo’s Science Workshop by Heidi Olinger to one of you. Thanks for all your comments. Such enthusiasm! But only one can win, and this week it is Lee McKenzie. Congratulations, Lee! If you don’t know Lee, you should! She is a very prolific Northern California author and you can learn more about her at her site HERE. Lee, I will get your book out to you soon.

AbsolutelyMy granddaugher’s school starts in less than two weeks, so I guess the book I’m reviewing here is appropriate for this time of year. Absolutely Alfie and the First Week Friends by Sally Warner and illustrated by Shearry Malone is the second book in a sweet series for younger middle-grade readers. I reviewed the first book HERE back in May. This is the review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review.

A new school year is always exciting, but not necessarily in a good way. Second grade will have changes for Alfie. She will have a man teacher and, of course, there will be some new children. And Alfie hasn’t seen some of her friends since first grade. But Alfie has a plan that will make everything great — she will have two best friends, Hanni and Lulu. It will be perfect.

Sally Warner
Sally Warner

When she gets to school, Mr. Havens, her new teacher, has assigned seats at tables, and Lulu isn’t at Alfie’s table. The students are given a group project to work on for Back to School Night, and problems begin. The kids at her table didn’t listen to the assignment and won’t listen to Alfie! Everything is going wrong.

Author Sally Warner has written a book that is pitch-perfect for the youngest elementary school readers with realistic problems and normal concerns and feelings. Alfie’s family is great, and the relationship with her brother, EllRay, is sweet. The writing is crisp and just complex enough for the age group. Illustrations by Shearry Malone have an old-fashioned feeling that works well for this story and adds a lot to it.

Shearry Malone
Shearry Malone

No giveaway this week. I donated my hardbound copy to my granddaughter’s school library. If you are reading this in your email, please click HERE to get to my blog, then click on the title of the post, and leave a comment. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.


18 thoughts on “Absolutely Alfie and the First Week Friends — Review”

  1. What a great choice for this soon to be back to school time. A new school year can be an emotional time in a child’s life. Also sounds like a good read aloud. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.
    The links to Passive voice and emotions were most helpful. It had me thinking of spots in my manuscripts that might need another edit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a perfect back-to-school book. It looks like a fun read — love that cover. I had my first male teacher when I was in sixth grade and wasn’t sure how I felt about it. But it prepared me for many more male teachers in junior and senior high schools.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is perfect for this time of year. Yeah, having my first male teacher was a bit of a shock. There weren’t many in elementary school when I was there! Thanks for the comment.


  3. This sounds like such a fun book! It seems like a very realistic depiction of the stressors of that grade level. Also, if the illustrations are similar to those on the cover, then they must be fantastic! Thanks so much for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This looks like a great book for the back to school season. I have been noticing that that being put in a different group than your besties is a theme in a lot of MG books. Can’t wait to read this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As a former teacher, I can certainly remember those first-day-of-school jitters for the teacher and the students! Thanks for sharing this one with us for MMGM. I’m going to look it up in our public library’s catalog.

    Liked by 1 person

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