The Rizzlerunk Club: Best Buds Under Frogs by Leslie Patricelli

Published by Candlewick Press

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Summary:  When Lily throws up on the first day of fourth grade at her new school, she’s sure she’s doomed to have no friends.  To her surprise, a girl named Darby reaches out, but her teasing sometimes makes Lily uncomfortable.  After a play date at Darby’s house, though, Lily decides she likes her, and the two form the Rizzlerunk Club.  Darby’s happy to have a new friend, too, since her old best friend Jill moved to London over the summer. When Jill returns part way through the year, though, trouble ensues. Jill has a talent for convincing Darby and Lily to do things that get them into trouble, while appearing innocent herself.  Lily finally decides to go her own way, but Darby is miserable. She and Lily reconcile, deciding they’ve had enough of Jill’s bossiness. But there’s another side to Jill, and Darby and Lily get a few surprises that make the Rizzlerunk Club a threesome; a chapter called “The Endish” provides a happy ending while leaving an opening for a sequel.  288 pages; grades 2-5.

Pros:  Funny and endearing, this story perfectly captures fourth grade kids.  Lily, Darby, and Jill are all interesting and complex characters, and their classmates and siblings are fun to get to know as well.  Lily’s cartoon illustrations are a nice addition to the text.

Cons:  The class’s science experiment, feeding two rats a healthy diet and two other rats a junk food diet, seems a bit inhumane.

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