Suzannah loves animals but can’t have one of her own in the apartment her family lives in. So, Suzannah has stuffed animals, lots of them, and they are her pets. She loves to take Whiskers, her stuffed mouse, with her to help her feel brave. One day her mom suggests she help out at the local animal shelter. Suzannah and several other kids volunteer on Saturdays; they make treats for the cats and dogs, play with the animals, and enjoy all the animals. When a family drops off a guinea pig at the shelter, Suzannah is determined to find it a new home. Finding a home for a pe, though, is harder than Suzannah thought!
Readers will enjoy the reading about the animal shelter setting, learning the stories of the pets as they are left at the shelter and adopted later, and, especially, all the fun crafts the pet shelter kids make for the cats and dogs. Suzannah’s eagerness to have a pet shines through in this story, and readers who want a pet, but can’t have one, will certainly find ways in the book to cope as Suzannah has. Directions for the pet crafts are included at the end of the book. Look for this one in our library later this year! Thank you to Scholastic and Netgalley for the advance reading copy.
Abigail is about to begin sixth grade and cannot wait to be a pom-pom girl. She and her two BFFs, Alli and Cami, have wanted to be pom-pom girls since they saw them in third grade. But sixth grade doesn’t start out all that great; Alli and Cami (aka AlliCam) are in a homeroom class together, but Abigail is in a different homeroom with the meanest teacher in sixth grade, Mrs. Hendrick (aka The Hawk). In case Alli and Cami having a nickname for the two of them (that excludes Abigail) is not enough of a clue, things only get worse from there. Abigail’s language arts teacher (also The Hawk) has the class write a friendly letter to another person in class (assigned by the teacher, of course) for the entire school year, and Abigail is assigned to the biggest loser in school, Flabby Gabby. AlliCam share all these inside jokes from being in classes all day together, and Abigail begins to feel left out. To make matters worse, AlliCam are pom-pom girls, too. Abigail struggles to fit in with her old friends while tentatively developing a friendship with someone new. How can Abigail be a kind person and a pom-pom girl? She begins to learn that she doesn’t always like her choices in life.
There are several things I liked about this book. There are no chapters, but each new section begins with a title of sorts in a bubble cloud. Abigail loves to create lists, and there are many throughout the book. This keeps her organized and helps her understand things better. I especially enjoyed the character, Gabby; despite all the difficulties she experiences in her life, she remains positive- something that Abigail begins to learn herself (the hard way, of course!) Tough issues of bullies and bystanders appear throughout the book and are honestly portrayed. Told through lists, notes, and friendly letters, with cute doodles on every page, this is a book that all tween girls will enjoy reading!
Thank you to Sourcebooks for an advance reading copy of Always Abigail!