Amanda Pig continues her move out into the wider world, as her friendship with shy classmate Lollipop (introduced in Amanda Pig, Schoolgirl) leads to reciprocal play dates and then to Amanda's first attempted sleep-over. Situations are funny, or touching, but always true-to-life, and a reassuringly warm tone (broken up nicely by some characteristic rambunctiousness on Oliver's part) prevails. Amanda is as engaging a character as ever, here taking on a Frances-like quality with her spontaneous poems: "'Today is the best day,' she sang. `Lollipop is coming to play.'" Lollipop won't talk at first, communicating all her responses to Mother's questions by whispering to Amanda. When she falls out of a swing and hurts herself, she still whispers-but this time to Mother, who oh-so-comfortingly kisses her knee and makes it all better. Amanda loves Lollipop's house: she has a purple room, lots of dress-up clothes, and, best of all, a baby sister. Amanda tries to teach Lulu how to say her big sister's name ("`Look, Lulu,' she said. `Lolly. Pop.' `Oopy doop,' said Lulu"), but Lulu ends up learning Amanda's name instead. As usual, Van Leeuwen ends on a note of surpassing warmth and family closeness: Amanda, unsettled by an unfamiliar bed and a "monster" tree scratching at the window, changes her mind about sleeping over at Lollipop's. As she explains to Father, "I like Lollipop's house in the daytime. But at night I like my own house."
In this entry in the Easy-to-Read series, ebullient Amanda Pig (Oliver and Amanda and the Big Snow, 1995, etc.) discovers that independence can be scary. With new best friend Lollipop, Amanda spends a day playing at home, another outside with their toy "babies," and another at Lollipop's house, in her grand purple room. A sleepover takes an Edward-the-Unready turn (Edward's Overwhelming Overnight, 1995) and Amanda phones home, with the wish to be in her own bed at night. Amanda's neighborhood is filled with understanding and loving adults, while Schweninger's colorful pastel illustrations reinforce the overall tone of warmth and predictability of the text. Van Leeuwen creates a comfortable world of safety and security in this feel-good, reassuring book. (Picture book. 4-8)