Emi & Mini

Tradewind. Jun. 2023. 64p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781926890203.
Gr 2-5–Emiko and her mom just moved from Vancouver Island to the city, leaving behind their extended family. Despite the Zoom calls, Emi is a bit lonely. She longs for a dog just like her cousins have. Emi’s mom checks with the landlord and finds out that dogs aren’t allowed but animals in cages are, so Emi reluctantly accompanies her mom to the animal shelter. She is intrigued by a rather large hamster, so Emi and her mom take her home. Mini stays in Emi’s room, but Emi doesn’t find her quite as fun as a dog. One day Emi takes Mini out of her cage and Mini escapes and can’t be found. The little girl is distraught until she finds her friend and realizes how much she missed her. Even though Emi says change is hard, having Mini as a pet makes everything better. Absolutely beautiful illustrations by Jorish make Masutani’s charming tale come to life. Many readers will be interested in the glimpses into Emi’s Japanese Canadian culture as they follow her sweet journey.
VERDICT A familiar tale of big changes and animal love that many readers will relate to; some challenging vocabulary makes this a good independent reading choice for intermediate readers or a read-aloud for younger ones.

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