Middle-Grade Review: PAWS: Mindy Makes Some Space by Nathan Fairbairn


About This Book:

Best friends Mindy Park, Gabby Jordan, and Priya Gupta are back in business! After a few ups and downs, their dog-walking business is booming and the girls are closer than ever. It’s a dream come true!


But for Mindy, things at home are beginning to feel like a bit of a nightmare. Her mom just started dating someone, which has Mindy feeling like the odd one out. For as long as she can remember, it’s been just the two of them and she doesn’t want that to change. (So what if her mom’s boyfriend has a cute pet cat, and all of Mindy’s friends seem to think he’s pretty cool?)

And things only get worse when a new student named Hazel arrives in class and seems totally into joining PAWS. Sharing her mom feels bad enough, so there’s no way Mindy’s is going to share her best friends and her business, too! But when Mindy’s stubbornness starts to hurt everyone around her, will she be able to overcome her fears and learn that change doesn’t have to be a cat-tastrophe?

*Review Contributed By Karen Yingling, Staff Reviewer*

Who let the dogs out? The dog walkers!

In Gabby Gets it Together Mindy Kim, Gabby Jordan, and Priya Gupta form their dog walking business, Pretty Awesome Walkers, because they all love dogs but cannot have pets in their homes for various reasons. While Priya loves sports and Gabby loves reading, Mindy’s life revolves her mother and her phone. Mindy and her mother often hang out together, reading and watching movies. When the two are out, they run into a man, Mike, who is walking his cat, Chonk. Her mother and Mike bond over the shared love of a video game, and soon Mindy feels like a third wheel when she has to go along on dates with her mother. She also feels awkward at school when there is a new student at Charlotte Bronte Elementary, Hazel. Mindy and Gabby are soon sitting at a table with Hazel, who is also really interested in walking dogs. The girls need to increase their client base as former clients no longer their services, but Mindy is increasingly distracted by her mother’s new relationship and her jealousy at Hazel’s inclusion in the group. At one point, Mindy leaves Hazel to walk Chonk alone. Chonk crawls off into a bush to sleep, and since Hazel is in a wheelchair, she is stuck on the sidewalk until the girls come back to get her. Will they all be able to reach some kind of agreement so that they can all get along and keep the business going?
Good Points
It is always good to see children navigating the experience of parents who are dating, since I think that is an experience that many have that is not reflected as much in literature. The friend drama is a constant draw, so while it is great that Mindy and Gabby were so welcoming to Hazel, it’s also understandable that Mindy felt left out. Hazel’s use of a wheelchair comes up in a natural way and is handled well by the girls. The dogs are adorable, the details of the girls’ home and school life add a lot to the story, and the illustration style will appeal to readers who like Victoria Jamieson’s and Raina Telgemeier’s books.

While I’m personally not a fan of the manga style overemoting when the character’s eyes bug out and their faces are red, and that happened a lot, especially since Mindy was struggling with several issues. Younger readers love the drama and this style of illustration, so will be fine with it.

There should be some recipes in the back– I need to make gamja bokkeum (potatoes fried with onions, garlic, soy sauce, and sugar) for dinner! I enjoyed this one, and recommend it to readers who like books with children who have businesses like the cupcake sellers in Simon’s Cupcake Diaries or the babysitters in Martin’s The Baby-Sitters Club.

*Find More Info & Buy This Book Here*

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