STARRED REVIEW
August 2022

Old Friends

By Margaret Aitken, illustrated by Lenny Wen
In this sweetly funny book, Marjorie misses the hobbies she shared with her grandmother, so she goes incognito and joins a “senior citizens friend group.”
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Debut author Margaret Aitken offers up the story of the superhero we didn't know we needed: Undercover Granny! Bursting with color and movement, Old Friends is a sweetly funny story about intergenerational friendship. 

Marjorie is a little girl with a penchant for baking, gardening, crafting and listening to Glen Miller records. She used to share these passions with her beloved Granny, the one person who truly understood her. Nobody else in Marjorie's orbit thinks crafting is cool or wants to spend time perfecting their scones, and she's too young to join an online hobby group. 

Serendipity strikes when Marjorie strolls past the community center one day. A sign promoting a “senior citizen friends group” not only lists activities that seem perfectly tailored to her interests but also proclaims “New members welcome!” Alas, Marjorie is prevented from joining the group. “Kids club is that way,” explains a well-intentioned woman in the community center lobby. Undeterred, Marjorie reflects that “Granny didn't give up easily . . . and neither would she!” After acquiring a pair of glasses, a fuzzy cardigan and some flour to powder her hair, Undercover Granny is ready for action:

But then—oh, no! Amid all energetic cha-cha-cha-ing with her new friends, Marjorie's disguise slips off, revealing her true identity. (Don't miss the community center cat's shocked expression, a hilarious wonder to behold.) What will happen now?

Aitken's playful use of language, from clever alliteration to suspense-building ellipses, will keep readers turning the pages with anticipation. So, too, will illustrator Lenny Wen's vibrant, energetic spreads, which brim with tantalizing details such as a rainbow of outfits that celebrate pattern mixing, expertly textured leafy plants and shaggy rugs, and a twirling, whirling dance party. Cha-cha-cha!

The seniors' compassionate response to Marjorie's subterfuge is a poignant reminder that there's no age limit on friendship. After all, as bow-tie aficionado Arthur reveals, “On the inside, we still feel like kids. Just like you.” Readers of every generation will delight in Old Friends‘ joyful tone and affirming message—and its superb surprise ending, too.

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Old Friends

Old Friends

By Margaret Aitken, illustrated by Lenny Wen
Feiwel & Friends
ISBN 9781250801388

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