Saturday, May 27, 2023

Cartoon Saturday- The Do-Over

Vargas, Rodrigo and Yovaniniz, Coni. The Do-Over
May 23, 2023 by Clarion Books
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Mariana (Maru) and her father, a barber, have moved from California to Columbus, Ohio to be near Maru's Abuela, who runs a local Peruvian restaurant. Maru misses her friends, but is glad to be near her abuela, and wants to help her father out with the business, which isn't doing as well as he had hoped. She posts pictures on Telepik, hoping to raise awareness. These pictures lead Zoe and Everly to visit the shop and ask Maru's father if he would be interested in their organic temporary hair dye, which they have packaged in a water bottle. Maru thinks it is a great idea, and in preparation for the local Harvest Festival, her abuela and uncle help the kids clean up an old food truck and turn it into a mobile salon, True Colors. Maru doesn't tell her dad anything about this, and avoids all of his questions. Maru doesn't want to dye her own hair, which leads to a little bit of tension with her new friends, but they find that they are very busy with cutting and dying people's hair, sometimes giving them hair dos that look like ice cream cones or ears of corn (which, in Ohio, ends up being very popular). Her father isn't pleased when he finds out, but when True Colors needs more help, her father is willing to step in and lend a hand. 
Strengths: This was a fun graphic novel about Kids Doing Things that will appeal to the legions of young readers who themselves have dyed hair and the occasional nose ring. I appreciated that while Maru was sad that she had to leave California and was grieving her mother in realistic ways, she settles happily into her new life with new friends. Her relationship with her father is spot of for middle grade children, so it was good to see that she could turn to her grandmother while she is irritated with her father. The Harvest Festival and the True Colors salon are both a lot of of fun. 
Weaknesses: While the Columbus representation is fine in both the events, setting, and drawings, I was surprised to learn that both authors are based in Santiago, Chile. While I love seeing books set in my hometown, I would love to see something set in Chile. Just a little confused.
What I really think: Readers who like Greenwald's 2009 My Life in Pink and Green, Santopolo's Sparkle Spa, or Ortega's Frizzy will love this graphic novel. Personally, my grandmother's voice was VERY loud in my head when I read this. She would have not approved of people spending money "to look silly". We used to have a school rule that hair couldn't be dyed bright colors, but then people used to not come to school in their pajamas. This made me feel old!

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