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The New Friend: Book 3 (Polly and the Puffin) ISBN: 9781510200906
Colgan, Jenny and Docherty, Thomas
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2017
Another in the charming and funny series of stories about Polly and her Puffin, Neil. In this one, Polly is about to start school, and she is NOT AT ALL HAPPY about it! In the first place, she can't take Neil (although she tries to smuggle him in via her bag), she hates her new black shoes, and she has 'a bad feeling' about the whole thing. Mummy tries to be encouraging, saying she will have lots of new friends, but Polly suggests that mum have a chocolate cake ready for Neil when she gets home from the first day. The first day does not go at all well. Polly doesn't know anyone, even though the teacher seems nice, and she really doesn't understand about playing with water and sand, and her painting is a mess. Furthermore, when the nice teacher suggests that she and Ronita might be friends, this ends up a disaster. Ronita, it turns out, has a bird too, a parrot, and Polly is furious and is quite rude. This ends a promising friendship with a bang, and when Polly gets home, it is apparent to mum that things have not gone well. The next day, Polly has a tummy ache and finally says to mum that she's going to be a puffin and therefore doesn't need big school any more. Sensible mum goes to the teacher, and they decide to let the two girls bring their respective birds to show and tell. This, of course, ends in disaster, which makes Polly and Ronita laugh and turns them into good friends after all - even though Neil and Skittles will always hate each other! There is a great deal of humour in this story, along with wonderfully sensitive and descriptive pictures, and it will go down a treat with those learning to read, as it is aimed at early readers. Nice to see lots of ethnic minorities in the illustrations too, including Ronita. At the back of the book are recipes for things like Polly and Neil's chocolate cake and flapjacks, facts and jokes about parrots, and some activities. This series is seriously good in all sorts of ways, and parents will enjoy the stories as much as their children.
Age: 4+