Young squirrels Sorrel and Sage meet on their first day at school and decide that they are exactly the same: they even have the same stripe on their tails. Sage invites Sorrel to sleep over, and Sorrel is not at all nervous beforehand, because they are exactly the same, but she finds that Sage lives in a very big tree and has a lot of relatives. She thinks that Sage is very lucky, and feels ashamed of her own smaller tree where she lives with just her Mum. When Sage wants to come to her house, Sorrel makes lots of excuses (all illustrated imaginatively), including the alleged fact that they have painted the house pink and the leaves are still wet, until a flutter of pink blossom leads Sage to Sorrel’s tree. Sorrel is embarrassed and apologises for lying, but admits that she didn’t think that Sage would still want to be her friend if she knew where she lived. Sage, invited to sleepover and loving sleeping ’ in pink clouds’, says it doesn’t matter that they’re not exactly the same, and that it’s all right to be a bit different.
Corrinne Averiss says on her website that she writes tender and humorous books for children, and that is a good description. Her Dot in the Snow, about an Inuit girl befriending a polar bear, was well-received. Susan Varley is best known for writing and illustrating Badger’s Parting Gifts, a touching book, published in 1985, that has helped many children to cope with the death of someone they love, and this book is in a similar pictorial style- affectionate illustrations in gentle colours. This picture book is not only a good story, but may well lead to useful classroom discussions about friendship in spite of differences.