Book review: From Archie to Zack
April 12, 2021 | Terri Schlichenmeyer
The girl who sits right behind you at school is really nice.
She shares her things if you ask nicely, and she likes to make you laugh. She seems very smart and polite, and she never says mean things to anyone, even if they deserve it. All the kids in your class like her; you like her. But in the new book From Archie to Zack by Vincent X. Kirsch, there might be someone you like just a little more.
There was no doubt in anyone's mind. Everybody knew it: Archie loved Zack and Zack loved Archie. The two boys were happiest when they did everything together, but the funny thing was, neither of them could say, "I love you."
Oh, but you can bet they both really wanted to say it. Very much so. And then one day, Archie wrote Zack a note that said, "From A. to Z. It's true. I love you."
Archie read the note to himself and it really made him smile.
But that note wasn't quite right, so he hid it in a tree, and Zack was still his best friend.
He wrote another note, kind of the same. He read it to himself but it just wasn't quite right. He hid the second note in his band case, and he and Zack were still best friends.
Just before Halloween, Archie wrote another note, with just a little more oomph, and he read it to himself many times. What he wrote finally seemed right this time. He loved Zack! But for some reason, he couldn't give the note to him, so Archie hid it in his desk at school.
Then one day, Zuzella found a note in a desk. Zinnia found one in band class. Zelda found one in a tree trunk. And all three girls knew who wrote them. They delivered the notes to Zack and that made him smile, because he'd been working on a note that wasn't quite right.
One that said the truth that everybody already knew.
That's not normally what you want to hear about a new book on the list of Lambda Award finalists. You probably want to hear enthusiastic things like WOW! - but that's not what you'll find here. From Archie to Zack tells young readers a sweet story in a calm, even, nothing-unusual manner.
The lack of drama is where unusual comes into play.
Author-illustrator Vincent X. Kirsch lets kids know that Archie and Zack can love one another and it's okay. The children in their class don't make fun of anyone. They barely even comment; in fact, they seem to think it's wonderful, a lesson that pulses like a heart here.
Even the action-rich illustrations tell a story here, a story about kids that also serves as a surpris-ingly grown-up conversation-sparker about love, whether it's between friends, classmates, neighbors, or a child's two favorite uncles.
Perfect for anytime reading, kids ages 4 to 8 will love this book best. For them and for you, From Archie to Zack is a book to get behind.
FROM ARCHIE TO ZACK
VINCENT X. KIRSCH
Abrams Books for Young Readers
$17.99 / $22.99 Canada 40 pages