cover image Mae and June and the Wonder Wheel

Mae and June and the Wonder Wheel

Charise Mericle Harper, illus. by Ashley Spires. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $15.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-544-63063-5

June’s best friend is her dog, Sammy, their relationship made all the stronger by the fact that they can communicate with each other. But June remains on the hunt for a human friend, and Harper’s (the Just Grace series) sweet-natured story focuses on the trickiness of classroom social circles and June’s efforts to befriend her new neighbor, Mae. Slow to get going, the story picks up when June receives the eponymous Wonder Wheel as a gift from her grandmother, a carnival-game-style spinning wheel with categories that encourage June to choose a spirit animal (an inclusion that may raise some eyebrows), embark on a scavenger hunt, and lend a helping hand, among other activities. Spires’s b&w artwork, included throughout, nicely amplifies June’s emotional ups and downs. Ages 6–9. Author’s agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Claire Easton, Painted Words. (Feb.)