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Mae and June and the Wonder Wheel

by Ashley Spires (ill.); Charise Mericle Harper

June is on a mission. She’s looking for a new friend. But this friend can’t be just anyone. This special someone absolutely must fulfill the three Fs: fun, friendly, and full of adventure. When June spots new neighbours moving into the house across the street, she wonders if their young daughter, Mae, will be just the person she and Sammy – her dog and current best friend – are looking for. June launches an operation to decide whether Mae has the three Fs. Luckily, Grandma Penny’s unexpected gift of a Wonder Wheel arrives at the perfect time.

indexThe Wonder Wheel (a carnival-style wheel of fortune complete with chalkboard surface and a cache of envelopes filled with suggestions) “invites you to wonder and see how little things can change your life.” Each day’s activity — for example, acting like an animal or going on a scavenger hunt — prompts June not only to think about but also to experience the world around her with renewed curiosity. Her classmates – especially Mae – get similarly swept up in the daily activities suggested by the wheel, and not long after the magical object’s arrival June realizes she and Mae have become friends.

Charise Mericle Harper’s early chapter book is ideal for young readers bored with the everyday activities they’ve performed over and over again; it offers a wealth of fun suggestions for new adventures to try right alongside the characters. It’s also a must for those worried about making friends as they enter a new grade or school. Readers will learn that if they’re not afraid to open up, the kindness in their hearts will be all they need to make friendships that last a lifetime. Ashley Spires’s illustrations are as lighthearted and lovable as June herself, and add an age-appropriate level of visual interest to keep kids engaged.