One Mixed-Up Night by Catherine Newman (review)
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Newman, Catherine One Mixed-Up Night. Random House, 2017 [208p] Library ed. ISBN 978-0-399-55389-9 $19.99
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-399-55388-2 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-399-55390-5 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4-6

Frankie and Walter, best friends since preschool, are obsessed with Ikea. Lately, Walter has lost his sparkle, so Frankie hatches a plan to help her friend: the two [End Page 30] bookish, nerdy kids are going to make like the characters in From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and spend the night in their favorite venue. After convincing their parents to visit the store, they deploy the ruse of a sleepover switch, hide out as the store closes and the last employee leaves, and then it’s game on for a night of serious fun, mild property damage, and some emotional healing, or at least the start of healing, for a boy who has lost his father and feels helpless in the face of his mother’s grief. Frankie is an enthusiastic, chatty narrator who’s just dying to tell readers all about the wonders of Ikea in intricate detail. Her insights about the vicissitudes of consumer desire might be a bit adult (“Kids love Ikea, but we’d noticed that it makes grown-ups want to kill each other”), but they are by no means out of reach for young readers and may even help them understand their own longings for stuff a bit better. Her compassion for Walter shines as brightly as her love for Swedish furniture; readers will be an envious of that as they are of the riotous adventure the friends share.

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