Harvey and the Extraordinary

Annick. Nov. 2021. 176p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781773215433; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781773215440.
Gr 3-7–There’s extra-ordinary, there’s ordinary, and then there’s extraordinary. Eleven-year-old Mimi MacNeil (race not described) is the latter, despite her broken arm and her missing father. In fact, she just knows her father is working in the circus and trying to find his way back to her, no matter what anyone else says. What would be better than meeting him halfway? With the help of her new pet hamster Harvey, Mimi sets out to learn the art of mime and put on a show that will blow her detractors away. This younger middle grade title is a well-paced, character-driven story that explores grief and abandonment in age-appropriate ways. It is told through two narratives, Mimi’s and her father’s, which mirror the gradual tension that builds as Mimi unravels and realizes the truth about her father. The story conveys the complex nature of her feelings without reducing her emotional journey to a single trite or blandly hopeful conclusion. Warm and buoyant illustrations help break up the text.
VERDICT This is a quick but fulfilling read that will benefit readers developing their social-emotional skills.

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