Saturday, May 30, 2020

Random Acts of Kittens and Donut Dreams

Méndez, Yamile Saied. Random Acts of Kittens: A Wish Novel 
December 26th 2019 by Scholastic Inc.
Library copy

Natalia finds a very young cat who has just had kittens in her family's garage. It's winter break, and very cold outside, so she brings them in, knowing that her mother, visiting grandmother, and older sister won't be thrilled. She even calls a cat rescue, which is unfortunately filled up, and takes the cats to the local vet, using her own money. With her sister's help, her mother agrees to foster them until they are old enough to be placed in other homes. Natalia has gotten in trouble in school and had a falling out with her best friend Meera, and she is hoping that the kittens will help her get to a better place in her life. When she and her friend Reuben set up a social media account for the kittens, complete with an adoption form, she finds that picking new owners is a lot more complicated than she expected it to be.
Strengths: This is another great depiction of having a parent deployed; Natalia has a fair number of interactions with her father, clearly misses him, but is also a little bitter that he is gone. I also loved that Natalia's abuela was visiting from Puerto Rico and enjoyed being with her family, but really wanted to go back home where it was warm! The best part about this were all of the details about taking care of tiny, tiny kittens. My students will enjoy the friend and school drama, which is always a popular topic. The Wish Novels are a huge hit at my school!
Weaknesses: Natalia was not very nice. I never really warmed up to her.
What I really think: Definitely glad I purchased this one!

Simon, Coco. Hole in the Middle (Donut Dreams #1)
December 10th 2019 by Simon Spotlight
Library copy

Lindsay lives in a small town where her grandparents run the Park View diner and her father runs Donut Dreams. Everyone knows everyone else in the town (the lady at the bank doesn't even need to ask her address when she opens an account), and Lindsay has plenty of family around. What she doesn't have is a mother-- she died a few years back. When Lindsay starts middle school and the inevitable (boring!) rota of events starts, she finds herself the object of much attention as the Fall Fling dance starts. Her mother's mother, Mimi, comes to visit from Chicago, bearing TEN dresses for Lindsay to try on, and friends and aunts are also invited. Her cousin Kelsey, who also has started working with her at the donut shop, tells her that all of the attention is because of her mother. It's hard enough to be going to the school where her mother taught art, but Lindsay is uncomfortable with all of the attention, even though she knows it is well meaning, and just wishes that she could leave her small town.
Strengths: Lindsay's close family and small town will appeal to readers who might not have this kind of life. The donut shop is the big draw here, and the grandfather was an excellent task master. This reminded me a bit of duJardin's Pam and Penny series-- the small town, perhaps? Or the family business and the single parent household. I love duJardin.
Weaknesses: There was a bit too much about the dance and the dress, and more donuts would have been my preference. I wanted some details about how they were made!
What I really think: I'm willing to buy the first ten books in this series, because the other Coco Simon titles do really well, especially with girls who have some reading struggles and want books about friend and family drama but are intimidated by longer books. This one was just sadder than I expected. Will see if So Jelly! featuring Kelsey is more upbeat.

Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment