Best buds under frogs by Leslie Patricelli
Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763651046
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Themes: Friendship. School. Moving from the city to Pine Lake where she must catch a bus to school, Lily is apprehensive, and barfing on the first day does not endear her to the group of friends who had assembled around her. But Darby takes her on, and soon the two are best of friends, with sleepovers and catching the bus together.
So begins this amusing story of fitting in, of starting a new school in year four, of finding someone who will be your best friend. Darby and Lily set up a club, the Rizzlerunk Club, named after the sea captain who ran aground in the lake, his head mysteriously becoming attached to a giant octopus and climbing into the old boat shed on the shore near Darby's home. Fun and mayhem follows the girls, as they contend with the remarks from the others in their class and are somewhat baffled when they take on the club the two have created for themselves.
Darby's stories are all about ghosts and ghouls and Lily is even more apprehensive the first time she goes to her house and meets her family, a large group of people who all look like Darby, even down to the glasses they all wear. They are all pleased that Lily is Darby's new friend, who they think is much better that Darby's former fiend, Jill, who has moved away. But alarm bells ring when she unexpectedly moves back to the lake, bringing with her her own sense of the funny and dramatic which embroiled Darby in many mishaps in the previous year.
Patricelli's first novel for mid-primary people is most successful, pitched at their concerns, fitting in, finding friends and coping with family issues. She has included funny little illustrations, many of which can be found through the text.