Gr 3-5-The protagonist of picture books Amazing Grace (1991) and Boundless Grace (1995) and chapter books Starring Grace (2000) and Encore, Grace! (2003, all Penguin) returns for another installment. The child is growing up and things are changing. She has always had an adventurous imagination, but now she needs to face the realistic aspects of life as well. In the past year, her elderly friend, Mrs. Myerson, died; her mother remarried; and her best friend moved away. Now Grace takes on a new friend with a serious problem, moves to a new house, and learns that she's going to be a big sister. Background information is provided in a way that won't bore readers already familiar with the first two books in the series. However, the location of Grace's town and her exact age are unclear. Full-page sketches are well done and reflect corresponding chapter scenes. The eloquent writing style allows the author to introduce serious topics in a manner that's appropriate for this audience. Those familiar with Grace will embrace this continuing story of her life, and new readers will be enchanted with this creative and compassionate African-American girl with quite an entertaining imagination. Hoffman does a fine job with this story about life, love, friendships, and real problems that many children face.-Amanda Rose Conover, St. Johns County Public Library System, Ponte Vedra Beach Branch, FL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
The spirited Grace is back with her gang and quite a few changes, in her fourth outing, tackling a host of issues including divorce, moving, her mother's wedding, a new baby, a friend's eating disorder, jealousy and bullying. Grace's best friend, Aimee, has moved away, and newcomer Crishell has not quite settled in, feeling like an outsider at times while Grace misses the special friendship she enjoyed with Aimee. The young ruffian, Russell, is still intimidating others with his verbal taunts and Grace is worried over her loyalty to her own papa in Gambia, having confused feelings about a new baby with stepfather Vince. As in the previous installments, Hoffman folds the larger problems within a loosely written plot centered around school and home life in a multicultural community. More playwriting of traditional fairytales together with some heart-to-heart talks with Nana seem to solve, if not air out Grace's concerns. Hoffman manages to address the serious without a heavy-handed approach to the ups-and-downs of a typical child's daily life. A nice addition to the easily read British series. (Fiction. 8-10)