Harvey Holds His Own

Pajama Pr. (Harvey Stories: Bk. 2). Jul. 2020. 224p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781772781144.
Gr 3-5–Relieved to have her spirited West Highland terrier Harvey back after he wandered away from home in the previous book, Harvey Comes Home (2019), Maggie is settling in to her new school when the seventh grade girls learn they are required to complete service hours. Maggie opts to volunteer at Brayside Retirement Villa, where she found Harvey. Despite the scorn of her two closest friends, Maggie discovers she enjoys the company of the retirees. When she meets new resident Mrs. Fradette, they form a bond; Maggie is enthralled by the stories Mrs. Fradette tells of her youth. Maggie also finds herself opening to Austin, the grandson of Brayside’s head custodian, who had previously rescued Harvey. This sweet dog story competently explores multiple themes. As with the first book, the innate value of learning from and listening to the elderly is highlighted. Maggie develops respect and fondness for the residents of Brayside and the lives they have lived. She also experiences the shifting social dynamics of middle school, painfully learning that expanding her circle of companions can be beneficial as old friends drift away. Her relationship with Mrs. Fradette sparks an awareness in Maggie of personal growth, as the feisty woman tells the teen about fighting to follow her passion in an age when women were not expected to do so. Maggie realizes she is far from knowing who she is, but realizes that now is the time to confidently embark on her journey of discovery.
VERDICT With the winning combination of a relatable main character and an adorable dog, this book should find a home with readers seeking a warmhearted tale of growth and connection.

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