This is where it all started!Eight-year-old Alice McKinley wants pierced ears, really long hair, a pet, and, most of all, a mother. Oh, and some friends would be nice. As the new girl in third grade, Alice doesn't know a single person in Takoma Park, Maryland, except for her next-door neighbor Donald Sheavers, who not only is a boy, but also seems to be a little bit peculiar! Desperate to meet people, Alice learns that making friends is harder than it seems when she runs into a group of girls whom she nicknames "the Terrible Triplets" after they make it very clear that they do not want to get to know Alice. On top of all this, Alice also has to keep an eye on Donald's recently divorced mom, who seems to have her eye on Alice's dad! This is the first of three prequels to Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's beloved Alice series. Now younger girls can get to meet the girl everyone wants to be best friends with, and older girls will enjoy finding out how Alice came to be the Alice they know and love.