Too many friends by Kathryn Apel
UQP, 2017. ISBN 9780702259760
(Age: 7-10) Recommended. Tahnee has the problem of having too many friends. Everyone wants her to be their work partner in class and playmate in the yard. Tahnee accepts everyone but she especially targets the new girl Lucy who is quiet and withdrawn. Her efforts to include Lucy alienate Tahnee's best friend Roxie. How can you be friends with everyone all of the time?
Tahnee is in year 2 and her close family support her friendly attitude but it is Tahnee who has to find her own answers to solving her friendship problems.
The issues of friendships and bullying are common in school and many students will identify with similar problems, being excluded from the group, convincing others not to be your friend and put down comments and looks. Choosing who you work and play with is fraught with friendship issues, even for someone as kind and inclusive as Tahnee.
Kathryn has dealt with similar problems in her novel Bully on the Bus where 7 year old Leroy struggles with the bully that makes his life so unpleasant.
Kathryn Apel lets her protagonists work through their problems and after listening to advice they find their own answers. Tahnee's solution is both inventive and kind and a positive role model for students who are reading the book.
This novel would be a great read aloud and discussion point for classes. Apel's prose flows beautifully and being written in first person, strongly conveys Tahnee's feelings and concerns.
The front cover is simply decorated and the bunting theme and paper cut outs continue into the book to highlight the beginning of each chapter.
I would recommend this book to 7 to 10 year olds.
A book trailer is available.