Scholastic/Graphix. Mar. 2021. 240p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781338568912; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781338568905.
Gr 3-6–The oldest in her family, Maggie is often left attention-starved among her younger twin brothers and working parents, especially now that her mom is pregnant, but a puppy will change that. However, the much-anticipated trip to the animal shelter ends with Maggie itching, sneezing, and breaking out in hives—turns out she is allergic to anything with fur or feathers. A puppy is out of the question, and she must endure allergy shots. Maggie makes a best friend in new neighbor Claire but feels insecure and even jealous—Claire’s father seems to let her do anything she wants, and when Claire adopts a puppy, Maggie is sent into a tailspin. Still, Maggie perseveres, realizing that no one’s life is perfect, learning to live with allergies, and looking forward to her new sibling’s arrival. Readers will root for this realistic and relatable fifth grader, who’s capable of kindness well as envy and self-doubt. Lloyd folds in information about allergy tests, anaphylaxis, EpiPens, and other facts that Maggie and her friend Sebastian, who also has allergies, recite to each other. Layouts rely on three to four large panels per page, creating a smooth visual flow; Nutter’s muted, uncluttered art has a cozy feel. Maggie and her family are brown-skinned, Claire is Asian, and Sebastian is white.
VERDICT Maggie makes new pals here—she’ll find even more friends in elementary and middle school libraries, where readers will easily identify with her trials and accomplishments.

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