Friendly Four

Overview

THE FRIENDLY FOUR

Celebrate summer with Coretta Scott King Award winners Eloise Greenfield and Jan Spivey Gilchrist!

Drum: Didn't I call this summer a bummer?

All: Not anymore, not anymore.

Drum: I was alone, and life was lonely.

All: But not anymore,

Drum: 'cause we're ...

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Overview

THE FRIENDLY FOUR

Celebrate summer with Coretta Scott King Award winners Eloise Greenfield and Jan Spivey Gilchrist!

Drum: Didn't I call this summer a bummer?

All: Not anymore, not anymore.

Drum: I was alone, and life was lonely.

All: But not anymore,

Drum: 'cause we're the Friendly Four!

When Drum, Dorene, Louis, and Rae enter one another's lives unexpectedly, they embark on an unforgettable summer of discovery and creative play together. With individual poems and poems for multiple voices, Eloise Greenfield follows four children as they explore the bonds of friendship, family, and community.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Naomi Williamson
Drum begins telling the story, which is told through Greenfield's amazing poetry and written in multiple voices. Summer has arrived and Drum is not happy. He just knows that his summer is going to be a "bummer." There is no one in his neighborhood for him "to chase" or "to catch a ball." All he sees ahead is boredom until a new family moves in down the street. When he sees that a girl about his age is moving in he decides that he needs to be a good neighbor and deliver a welcome greeting. This begins the friendship of Drum and Dorene as they run and jump and learn about each other. Then along comes another newly adopted boy, Louis, who has a party to meet the other children in the neighborhood. And finally, Rae, who is visiting her grandma and Dorene while her mother gets "a little bit stronger." Friendships flourish as the children laugh, play, tell stories, and even build a town. Greenfield tells the story of friendships that build between the children and how their imaginations can take them into a wonderful summer of fun. The easy to read poetry is charming and descriptive of children and their many summer activities. The watercolor illustrations by Jan Spivey Gilchrist enhance this beautiful story with her portrayal of these energetic children as they laugh and play together throughout the summer. The children also know that when school starts they may be apart, but they will continue to be friends.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Free-verse poems tell the story of a group of children who find each other during one otherwise lonely summer. Seven-year-old Drummer is anticipating a "Bummer Summer": "Summer's a bummer,/nobody to chase,/nobody to catch the ball/I throw./Hurry up, September!/Get here, fall!/so I can be with/all my friends again." Before long, though, Dorene moves in down the street. Then Louis arrives. The last of the group is Rae, who's sent to stay with Dorene and her family because of her mother's illness. The African-American friends all bond, play, and build and paint an elaborate cardboard town they call Goodsummer. The simple watercolors work well at setting scenes of tidy streets lined with homes and lots of backyards and parks. Gilchrist's talent shows in her use of color, splashed with light, but some of her figures look a bit stiff. The children's voices are printed in different colors, making this title a natural choice for choral reading. For a younger audience than most novels-in-verse, this accessible and well-written book has a nostalgic tone-you don't see a television or computer game anywhere, and the children's play is centered on activities such as dress-up, slides and swings, and playing school.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Four new friends turn a dull summer around with creative projects and energetic play. Greenfield's form gets attention right away; the narrative unfolds via 34 free-verse poems in six parts, beginning with "One. Drummond." Drum introduces himself and describes his boredom, perking up when a new family moves in down the street. Drum and the new kid, Doreen, play a series of games. Their bright verses (and many that follow) could also be viewed as short scenes, suitable for classroom use. Louis comes next, then Rae. Each voice has its own color-red, green, blue and purple-as they talk to each other and plan. The quartet is crackling with ideas, like a makeshift town made out of cardboard and paint in Drum's back yard. They act out various scenarios in their town's many establishments. Gilchrist's watercolor illustrations work in harmony with the text, in a variety of configurations vis-a-vis the verse. All that can end this summer idyll is the start of a new school year. A lively tribute to children's imagination as well as an inviting introduction to free verse. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060007591
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/13/2006
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 1,402,965
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Eloise Greenfield is the author of an illustrious list of books for young people, including The Friendly Four, a Texas 2x2 Reading List book; In the Land of Words, an NCTE Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts; and How They Got Over: African Americans and the Call of the Sea, winner of a Bank Street Children's Book Award—all illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. She is a recipient of the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award; the Coretta Scott King Author Award; the Award of Excellence from the Washington, D.C., branch of the National Writing Project; the Milner Award; the Hope S. Dean Award from the Foundation for Children's Literature; and the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Ms. Greenfield lives in Washington, D.C.

Jan Spivey Gilchrist illustrated the Coretta Scott King Award Book Nathaniel Talking, the Coretta Scott King Honor Book Night on Neighborhood Street, and Me & Neesie, all written by Eloise Greenfield. She wrote and co-illustrated My America with Ashley Bryan, which was named a Parents' Choice Recommended Award winner. An inductee into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent, Ms. Gilchrist received an MFA in writing for children from Vermont College and a doctoral degree in English from Madison University. She lives near Chicago, Illinois.

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