Animal Rescue Friends

Andrews McMeel. Jun. 2021. 160p. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9781524868062; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781524867348.
Gr 3-6–Hashimoto presents the adventures of several young people and their pet friends at an animal rescue. Lonely Maddie finds an affectionate pit bull she names Boyd, who is extremely intuitive and helps throughout the story. When Maddie’s mother tells her they can’t keep the dog, the girl takes him to the Animal Rescue Friends shelter and, seeing how understaffed the organization is, decides to volunteer. She helps long-time volunteer Bell, who’s initially possessive about sharing duties with a newcomer. Other young people find the shelter rewarding, too—socially anxious Mikey is matched up with a loving bunny, and after helping an injured feline, Noah goes from juvenile delinquent to cat whisperer. Hashimoto laces the narrative with wholesome lessons as the volunteers learn to work together and care for other living creatures. Bold lines outline brightly colored cartoons that are on the cutesy side, adding an appeal for younger readers. The lighthearted story and illustrations will draw in animal lovers. A detailed appendix explains how comics are made and the different jobs involved in their creation. Maddie, Mikey, and Noah are brown-skinned (and Mikey appears to be coded Latinx), while Bell is white.
VERDICT Recommended for collections where readers gravitate toward feel-good animal stories.

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