Making a new friend is always a good thing—and one who appreciates your canine buddy and joins in your imaginative games with gusto is even better!
June and her dog, Sammy, are inseparable, and when the duo discovers a little girl has moved in across the street, they hope she will meet their three criteria: a new friend must be “FUN! FRIENDLY! FULL OF ADVENTURE!” While Mae does indeed fill the bill, she’s immediately claimed by April, a bossy classmate who excludes June. Fortunately a spinning wheel sent by her grandmother with instructions for play in six sealed envelopes—one to open each Monday—nudges June to engage with others in new and positive ways. Cartoonlike illustrations depict students of varying skin tones who seem to be white, like June, as well as Latino and/or Asian, although Mae is the only African-American child. Disappointingly one of the classmates’ bonding experiences is crazy hair day, an event that is often not inclusive of African-American students. Sure enough, one character’s “crazy” hairstyle is multiple little braids, a popular normal hairstyle for black girls. Readers may also be baffled by the wheel’s complex instructions and disappointed that the story ends before they can discover what surprises are in store in the next five weeks’ envelopes.
Despite moments of charm, the story and characterization are not compelling enough to save this offering. (Fiction. 5-8)