________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 20 . . . . May 30, 2008

cover Zibby Payne & the Trio Trouble. (Zibby Payne series).

Alison Bell.
Montreal, PQ: Lobster Press, 2008.
92 pp., pbk., $8.95.
ISBN 978-1-897073-78-0.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.


When Zibby saw Sarah at school on Monday on the blacktop, she decided to pretend like everything was normal, which she was hoping it was.

“Hey, how’s your journal going?” Zibby asked in a Super Cheerful voice.

“Fine,” answered Sarah.

“Did you age the pages yet? That tea stain really works- I already did mine.”

“I smudged dirt on mine- there are other ways to age pages, Zibby,” Sarah said. “Even though I know Gertrude is the big art expert.”

“Um,” Zibby stuttered, not knowing what to say. She guessed Sarah was still angry at her for having Gertrude over, even though she hadn’t meant to do anything wrong. On the other hand, she didn’t like having Sarah mad at her, so she offered a Supreme Sacrifice to make it up to her.


Best friends Zibby and Sarah share shoes, a secret greeting, and snacks from the great Cabinet of Carbs. In Zibby Payne & the Trio Trouble, the fourth book in the “Zibby Payne” series, Zibby and Sarah learn how to share their friendship.

     Zibby promised herself she would be a kinder, better person for the rest of grade six. This is one of the reasons she leaves her favorite breakfast uneaten and heads to school early in the morning with Sarah. They are going to show the new girl around the school before class gets started. Zibby and Sarah are so excited! They both envision the new girl becoming a good friend. That was at 7:30am. By the time first class starts, opinions change- and then worsen.

     From the moment she’s introduced to the class by Miss Cannon, Zibby likes Gertrude. She has a name Zibby can relate to and a style of dress Zibby can admire. Sarah’s first impression of Gertrude isn’t as positive though. First she loses her favorite desk to Gertrude, and then she has to watch as Gertrude monopolizes all of Zibby’s free time.

     Zibby’s friendship with Sarah and Gertrude may be uncomfortable at times, but she doesn’t want to lose either of them as friends. Luckily, she has a few ideas she can use to bring her friends closer together. Friendship doesn’t develop at The Scoop though- an argument does. The Funky Donkey Dance results in feelings of isolation, and gifts of muffins and crafts end in a volley of accusations and insults. It’s not until Zibby resorts to her Best Buddies or Bust Plan that negative feelings start to dissipate and friendship begins to appear. Although the plan works, Zibby couldn’t foresee what would happen next. Feelings of jealousy and loneliness build up in Zibby as Gertrude and Sarah spent time together learning to knit, talking on the phone, and walking to school. And on an impromptu visit to Gertrude’s house, Zibby learns Gertrude has been lying to them from the first day they met. The girls would like to save their friendship, but it’s not until Gertrude begins to trust her friends and start telling the truth that a real friendship develops among all three girls.

     In the “Zibby Payne” series, Zibby does make mistakes, but she always comes out strong in the end. She would be a good friend to have at your side. Readers can learn from Zibby’s mistakes, share in her grade six tribulations, and be inspired by her Grand Plans.

     Alison Bell’s daughter was a tomboy in her younger days. She is the reason these books were written. Born and raised in California, Alison Bell worked as a copy editor for a law book publisher, an editor for a medical magazine, and a writer and producer for a reality television show. A former editor of TEEN magazine, Alison Bell has had articles published in many magazines including Sassy, YM, and Parenting. Along with the “Zibby Payne” series, Alison Bell is the author of 10 nonfiction books for teens.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.