Beverly Cleary has done it again, creating a relatable child and realistically portraying problems that young people go through. As an adult, I can laugh at the thought of wearing woolen underwear, but I can also believe that it's something a child would be adamant that her friends not find out about. Through that hilarious secret, Ellen meets another girl, Austine, who has the same issue, and that little thing blooms into a close, warm friendship.

The ups and downs of that relationship is explored in Cleary's classic children's point of view, from anger and shock to embarrassment and relief. The thoughts of Ellen after a fight with Austine are familiar to any who had fights with their best friends in school.

This book is so charming, and I believe that it can be enjoyed by anybody, young or old, who wants to settle down and revel in the problems of youth, or those who want to see what friendship can withstand.

CASSIE ERIN KELLEY's rating:
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