The Infinite Questions of Dottie Bing

Dial. Jan. 2023. 208p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593406663.
Gr 3-7–Burnham has crafted a delightful story about grief and the joy of friendship featuring 10-year-old Dottie Bing. Recently widowed Grandpa Walter comes to stay with Dottie, her parents, her four-year-old sister, Jazzy, and MacFurry, their spunky cat. While Dottie mourns the loss of Grandmother Ima, her neighborhood friends are dealing with their own challenges. Miles’s parents are getting divorced, and Sam’s mom is having a baby. Their group project of building a tree house brings them all together to deal with their feelings in a genuine and communal way. Sparse but appealing black-and-white illustrations help bring the dazzling cast of characters to life, and humor is infused in all the right places so the plot never feels too heavy (the lunch monitor Mr. Park who goes by “Mr. Shark” because, “I never stop moving, and I’m always watching you,” is an especially fun addition). The characters appear white; readers learn that Sam is trans, but it’s not part of the primary arc.
VERDICT An endearing story about grief and friendship that will resonate with readers. Recommended for public and elementary school libraries where realistic fiction is popular.

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