Jordan and Max, Field Trip!

Orca. (Jordan and Max: Bk. 2). Sept. 2022. 96p. pap. $7.95. ISBN 9781459831995.
Gr 1-3–In this series sequel, odd-couple friends Jordan and Max are thrilled to go to the field trip to the museum downtown. Told to stick with the group, Jordan and Max break off, first at the museum and then on an adventure throughout the city. A food truck buffet leads to a visit to a nearby university, a fashion show in glitzy vintage store, and meeting a kind stranger they dub Rainbow Woman, before a surprising conclusion at a buoyant Winter Solstice parade, where the duo is reunited with relieved families. While there are notable strengths in this novel—Jordan and Max demonstrate endearing levels of empathy and generosity toward the people they encounter; the friends are shown embracing each other’s differences, from Max’s irrepressible enthusiasm to Jordan’s anxiety and love of dresses; and diverse characters of various skin tones, genders, and family structures are depicted without fanfare—the overall premise of two children breaking the safety rules of a class trip to wander through a populous city entirely unsupervised from day into night is disconcerting. Though the pair is mildly chastised, and they say they won’t go roaming again, there is no discussion of the extremely dangerous potential consequences of wandering a busy city with a dead cell phone and no chaperone or adult who knows their location, all the while interacting with strangers. Jordan is depicted in the sparse black-and-white illustrations as white with shoulder-length brown hair, while Max has darker skin and dark brown curly hair.
VERDICT A chapter book with strengths in terms of diversity and social emotional learning, but whose overall plot point relies on a lack of key child safety protocol making it tough to recommend.

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