3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Friends is an illustrated children’s book written by Bonita Treasure Murungi Arinaitwe. Princess Noella is a girl who lives in the Kingdom of Laminar. She meets a girl named Misty and they become close friends. When they are taken by robbers during a sleepover at the palace, the girls discover a secret – they are actually sisters, as Misty had been kidnapped as a baby and raised by another family.
I became very interested in reading this book after finding out it was written by a ten-year-old girl from Uganda. It is an impressive accomplishment for a child of that age to write such a heartwarming story that explores the universal themes of family, friendship, bullying, and love. The plot begins with Princess Noella and Misty as young girls and follows along as they mature. There are time jumps between some of the chapters, but this doesn’t feel awkward as each chapter focuses on a specific topic and period in their lives.
The artwork is beautiful and has a handcrafted look. However, it’s not clear if the author also did the illustrations as only the cover art is attributed to another person, Kato Richard. The depiction of the girls’ faces is not always consistent, even within the same chapter. Still, the pictures are a fun, colorful complement to the narrative and give good visual clues. This is important for children who are beginning to read independently.
There are two aspects of this book that I really appreciated. First, there is a glossary of words that might be advanced for children. These words are highlighted in red throughout the story so that children can easily look up the meaning in the glossary. This is a useful tool for kids to expand their vocabulary and have the definitions right at their fingertips. Another bonus is a list of questions for the reader to remember specific plot points and characters, as well as a fun drawing activity.
Unfortunately, I spotted approximately fifteen grammatical errors throughout the story. These errors include missing commas before or after dialogue, incorrect apostrophes, no space between words, and one instance of incorrect word usage. In addition, there is repetition within the paragraph about Misty’s mother allowing her to visit the palace. After stating that Misty’s mother allowed Misty to go visit Princess Noella in the palace, the next sentence says that Misty’s mother agreed.
I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. It is an entertaining and educational read that is suitable for children ages 8-12. I look forward to reading other books by this young, talented author.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like bookowlie's review? Post a comment saying so!