When I first spied this book in the bargain bin at Marsh, I thought it lovely and grabbed it up immediately. For my Elizabeth, of course. But that doesn’t mean that Mommy can’t enjoy a pretty book, too. When I saw the title, I colored myself surprised. I have seen Madonna’s renditions of folk tales before but never The English Roses.
Think that your friendship can withstand anything? So did the English roses: Charlotte, Amy, Grace, Nicole, and Binah. This is the second book in the series, the first outlining how the girls become friends. Now, the English Roses are starting fifth year of school together. And with that fifth year come several surprises, chief among them are a teacher named Miss Flutternutter (I kid you not), the fall dance, and a gorgeous new exchange student by the name of Dominic de la Guardia (yes, like the airport). Of course, all of the girls instantly fall for him and try to gain his favor. Except Binah. But this is the classic instance of the girl who doesn’t try is the one who gets the attention. But what will this obvious preference by Dominic do to the girls’ friendship? Will the other Roses allow the Green-Eyed Monster to come between them or will they learn another important lesson in life and friendship?
Madonna writing style is very much the intrusive narrator, who stops frequently to address a fictitious reader, who also interrupts with comments. It’s rather endearing, in my view, and children will find it funny, I believe, especially if read aloud. The illustrations and illuminations on each page, done by Stacey Peterson, are colorful and lively and fit well with the voice and style of the book. This is an excellent partnership between author and illustrator, a fun story, and a delightful read altogether. Well done!