This sprightly story celebrates friendships new and old. Best friends Chloe and Angel play pretend, trick-or-treat on Halloween, ice-skate in the winter and dedicate themselves to the glorious cause of ignoring their new neighbor Rupert Raguso. But when Angel goes away on vacation, lonely Chloe discovers that Rupert isn't so bad after all. The gently instructive tale ends on an upbeat note, as Chloe writes a pretend postcard that says, ``Dear Angel, Alakabam-Kazoo! We have a new friend on Sycamore Street.'' Compassionate Chloe, bossy Angel, and the wonderfully persistent Rupert are clearly drawn characters with whom children will identify. The story saunters along just fast enough, thanks to the concise, often humorous dialogue. The daintiness of Sweet's watercolors is belied by their vigor. Particularly effective are the swirling, midnight blue washes that serve as backdrops to the nighttime Halloween scenes. Ages 6-8. (Sept.)
Best friends Angel and Chloe live on Sycamore Street, and they love to pretend; but when newcomer Rupert wants to join them, they pretend they're invisible. Then Angel goes on vacation, and Chloe finds that Rupert can be fun to pretend with, too. The cheerful watercolor illustrations in this first chapter book show the girls playing everything from princesses to witches throughout the year. Without heavy messages, Christiansen shows that it can be fun to exclude someone, and it can be mean. Sometimes Rupert's sad, out there in a corner of the picture; but when they make him mad, he takes over center stage. Even Angel's mother can't force the girls to be nice to him. Kids will recognize the way things change with friends and enemies.