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Making Friends

Review of '48 Grasshopper Estates' by Sara de Waal.

Young Sicily Bridges brims with creativity and believes she can make anything. She lives at 48 Grasshopper Estates with her loving mom and is surrounded by unique neighbours. Though Sicily’s home address alludes to grasshoppers, “in all her years there, she had never seen one grasshopper, or, come to think of it, any grass. That was alright with Sicily. She could make them herself.”

While her mom goes to work, Sicily is cared for by an endearing elderly woman, Mrs. Rubenstein, who gives Sicily the room to be creative. Sicily makes a list of things she’d like to make, but there’s one problem. Each invention requires more than one person to make it work. So, Sicily adds one more item to her list – a friend. Sicily sets out creating numerous friends out of craft materials: a fuzzy friend, a freckle-speckled friend, a friend with suspenders, a friend with big ears, and more. While Sicily works diligently to create friends, Mrs. Rubenstein continues to encourage her. However, Sicily soon becomes discouraged and tells her caregiver, “Maybe none of these friends are good friends for me.”

In a lovely turn of events Sicily has an epiphany, taking the friends she made and giving one to each of her neighbours. Then just when she’s feeling empty and alone after giving away all her friends, she discovers a real friend.

Author Sara de Waal’s whimsical, gentle narrative and illustrator Erika Medina’s playful, culturally-sensitive artwork portraying people from different ethnic groups living in harmony make this children’s picture book a delightful reading experience.

Did you know that Sara de Waal is a judge for our 2021 ‘Map and Mend’ Poetry & Art competition? Find out more here.

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