Mimi and the Cutie Catastrophe

Scholastic/Graphix. (Mimi and the Cutie Catastrophe: Bk. 1). Jul. 2022. 80p. pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781338766660; Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781338766677.
K-Gr 2–The catastrophes keep coming, but the cuteness, happily, also never lets up. The titular Mimi is a free-spirited, tutu-sporting young girl with a penchant for pink, purple, expert accessorizing, and delicious (pink and purple!) jelly toast. But her predilections find her typecast, as her mom warns her not to get dirty, her friends doubt her physical strength and intellectual acumen, and cool older kids take digs at her ebullient nature. In frustration, she sets out to prove them wrong and learns the true strengths of her assertive self-identity in the process. Narratively, this book is crafted for young audiences, following a deliberate repetitive structure: a four-fold problem presented, four attempts at a solution, and finally, an epiphany that solves Mimi’s identity crisis in a satisfying way. Furthermore, the text is simple, efficient, and funny, making it perfect for early readers and classroom read-alouds. Mimi is absolutely as cute as the title describes. Grant’s illustrations are frothy and perfectly pastel, and her manga-inspired facial expressions communicate as much as her text. Mimi and her family are Black, her neighbors are Latinx, and everyone featured in the story is Black or brown. Among this comic’s many strengths, diverse representation in a book about something as joyful as cuteness will delight many readers.
VERDICT Silly, sweet, and peppily paced, Mimi is great for early readers or as a read-aloud.

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