HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Piper Reed, Forever Friend by Kimberly Willis Holt | Review

Piper Reed, Forever Friend by Kimberly Willis Holt | Review

Elizabeth Varadan | The Children’s Book Review | May 21, 2013

Piper-Reed-Forever-FriendPiper Reed Forever Friend

by Kimberly Willis Holt; Illustrated by Christine Davenier

Age Range: 8 – 11 years

Hardcover: 160 pages

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books, Henry Holt and Co. (August 7, 2012)

What to Expect:  Moving to a new place, friendship clubs, military families, making new friends, sharing old friends, learning new things

When Piper moves from Pensacola to Norfolk, she hopes to find a new branch of the Gypsy Club thriving. She invented the Gypsy Club, so named because Navy families move so much. Her best friends, Nicole and Michael (twins), moved to Norfolk a month earlier. But Piper soon learns her friends live in a different neighborhood and go to a different school. They are “civilian”. Her family is “enlisted”. And, when she visits, Michael has a new skateboarding friend named Douglas.

Piper’s neighbor, a gangly girl named Arizona (who is in her class at school), has no interest in the Gypsy Club, and she keeps calling Piper “Snapper”. Arizona also excels at bowling, goes to stamp swap meets, and loves to read. When Piper decides to prove herself by outdoing Arizona at everything, her efforts lead to some very funny scenes.

Piper’s sisters are having better luck. Tori, a teenager, has a crush on the boy next door. She becomes a docent at the zoo, where he works. Six-year-old Samantha has started a goldfish club for anyone who likes goldfish, boosting membership with her mother’s orange cupcakes and lemonade. By the book’s end, Piper’s concerns resolve, too, in unforeseen ways that make her happier but wiser.

Middle-grade readers will enjoy Holt’s lively, humorous writing in this latest Piper Reed adventure, and Davenier’s black- and-white watercolor illustrations capture the characters’ quirky personalities.

“Like a needle, Nicole’s words popped every bubble of excitement I felt when we first started toward their house. My best friend was too busy with his new friend to welcome me. Maybe Norfolk wasn’t going to be fun after all.”

This book will appeal to 8-to-11-year olds who like clubs, but don’t like the first day in a new school, and to readers who live in the world of military families, where moving is a constant.

Add this book to your collection: Piper Reed Forever Friend

Piper Reed Forever Friend was reviewed by Elizabeth Varadan.


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Elizabeth Varadan writes for children and adults. Her middle-grade mystery, Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls (published June 15, 2015), is set in Victorian London and she is currently working on Book Two. Varadan loves to read and write about the Victorian Era and blogs about the many things she uncovers in her research. Visit: <a href="http://elizabethvaradansfourthwish.blogspot.com">elizabethvaradansfourthwish.blogspot.com</a> and <a href="http://victorianscribbles.blogspot.com">victorianscribbles.blogspot.com</a>

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