My Best Friend Sarah is a charming story about growing up and aging out of imaginary friends. With emotive but sweetly simple illustrations, this picture book could be a useful tool for any child experiencing a similar transition.
The first half of the book describes afternoons whiled away by the young narrator and her fairylike best friend, Sarah. In between bouts of dress-up, hide-and-seek remains one of their favorite games. But as the narrator grows older, Sarah becomes harder and harder to find. At first, the protagonist despairs, but she also has a lot of fun with her new friend, Crystal. Finally, after a long day at the park with Crystal, the narrator sits down to dinner, and her mother asks whether she ever sees Sarah anymore. She tells her that Sarah gave the new friendship her blessing and promised to return whenever needed.
This final revelation would have been more effectively placed before the playdate with Crystal; though a pleasant surprise, it disrupts the timeline and comes too late for the friends’ day at the park to be wholly lighthearted and enjoyable. Also, though it affects clarity only minimally, a lack of consistency in tense troubles the book. The first half is written primarily in present tense and the second primarily in past tense, risking unnecessary confusion.
Despite this, the book’s diction is easy to follow and remains suitable for early readers. Most importantly, children with imaginary friends — and many without them — will relate to the inner conflict of growing up and finding friendship beyond the home. In the end, young readers and the adults who read with them will enjoy the heartwarming story, the minimalist illustrations, and, ultimately, the message they both impart.
Also available as an ebook.