After the popular and critical success of the first Cleo Stories, Gleeson and Blackwood have followed up with a second book featuring young Cleo.
The two stories act as two chapters that encourage emerging readers to try their first chapter book.
Cleo is just a regular everyday kid.
In A Friend and A Pet she is a little naughty and defiant - not listening to her parents, ignoring her chores, doing things she knows she shouldn't be doing, whinging and complaining.
Gleeson elevates these everyday dramas to story-worthy status - the good times and the not so good - rainy days, grumpy out-of-sorts days, no-one to play with days and boring days.
Blackwood's illustrations add a homey touch and allow Cleo's quirky personality to be revealed. Her choice of clothing and accessories makes me smile. She reminds me of my five year old niece with her tutu's and masks and mismatched favourites.
The Cleo Stories are a celebration of imagination.
Patience and problem-solving are encouraged.
The stories and illustrations are authentic, warm-hearted and generous.
We also learn in this book that Cleo's favourite story is Harry the Dirty Dog - what's not to love!
This review is part of #AusReadingMonth and my Australian Women Writer's challenge.