Lily the Elf: The sleepover by Anna Branford

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Ill. by Lisa Coutts. Walker Books Australia, 2016. ISBN 9781925381146
(Age: 5+) Recommended. When Lily's cousin Fern comes to stay for a sleepover, Lily finds that all the preparations that she has made to ensure a happy visit don't interest Fern at all. She was sure that Fern would like cheesy acorn pie and play lots of games but Fern doesn't like anything that Lily suggests and it is not until she realises that Fern is homesick that she comes up with a suggestion that makes them both happy.
Branford has deftly described the fears that are part of young children's lives. A sleepover is a big event and even when there has been a lot of preparation, it is easy for it to go wrong. With compassion for her cousin's feelings, Lily is able to use her problem solving skills to come up with a solution that makes the pair feel happy. Lily's grandmother is a lovely character as well, sympathetic and understanding.
The black and white illustrations by Lisa Coutts bring the emotions of the characters alive and help support the easy text in the simple sentences. Large font, short sentences and short chapters make this a well supported text for emerging readers. Classroom activities for the series can be found here.
Pat Pledger