- Mae and June and the Wonder Wheel by Charise Mericle Harper
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-544-63063-5 $15.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-544-86811-3 $15.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 2-4
For June’s birthday, she receives a special present: a chalkboard spinning wheel with six imaginative categories. Each morning she spins the wheel and obeys whatever the wheel commands, whether it be to choose and emulate a spirit animal or to give a helping hand. The assignments end up being useful at school, especially with a new girl in class, Mae. Despite the contrivance of the premise, this is a solid look at school dynamics, and Harper has a keen ear for questions significant to the elementary set: are you a cat, a dog, or a no pet person? Can you be BFFs with more than one person? Are imaginary friends still allowed? Spires’ black and white illustrations make freckled June and curly haired, African-American Mae a pretty irresistible pair. Though this isn’t as sophisticated as English’s Carver Chronicles or Nikki and Deja titles, fans of those books will likely want to take a spin with Mae and June.