cover image Sparrow Being Sparrow (Sparrow Being Sparrow #1)

Sparrow Being Sparrow (Sparrow Being Sparrow #1)

Gail Donovan, illus. by Elysia Case. Atheneum, $17.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-665916-69-1

A spirited child embarks on a mission to rehome her elderly neighbor’s seven cats while navigating a new school, new friends, and a shifting relationship with her parents in this warm novel by Donovan (Finchosaurus). Enthusiastic nine-year-old Sparrow Robinson tends to get in trouble when excited; “Sparrow being Sparrow” is her loving parents’ weary refrain when she gets carried away. After her neighbor Mrs. LaRose falls and breaks her hip while the pair is playing make-believe, the Maine fourth grader volunteers to search for new homes for the older woman’s cats. Hoping to impress new friend Paloma, she also impulsively claims that the felines belong to her. Sparrow, who is starting to understand how she is perceived by others, experiences angst over the spontaneous fib and struggles to put things to rights. Further interpersonal events, including the anticipated arrival of a new sibling, exacerbate Sparrow’s worries. Her innate curiosity, coupled with her perceptive perspective, emerging sense of empathy, and desire to be seen as responsible, buoys this uplifting slice-of-life tale. Classic-feeling digital art by Case punctuates moments of strong emotion. Main characters are white; the supporting cast cues as racially diverse. Ages 7–10. Agent: Victoria Wells-Arms, HG Literary. (July)