The Used-to-Be Best Friend (Jo Jo Makoons, book 1) by Dawn Quigley, illustrated by Tara Audibert

Published by Heartdrum

Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend - Kindle edition by Quigley,  Dawn, Audibert, Tara. Children Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Summary:  Jo Jo Makoons has plenty to worry about in first grade: her at-home best friend Mimi needs to get vaccinated (and a kid in school told Jo Jo cats deflate like a balloon when they get shots), and her at-school best friend Fern seems like she doesn’t want to be best friends anymore.  Jo Jo’s struggling a bit in school, too, and her somewhat clueless teacher doesn’t always pick up on what’s going on around him in the classroom.  Jo Jo has her own way of handling her problems, but in the end she figures out what to do with both of her best friends and gets some of the recognition she craves at school. Includes a glossary of Ojibwe and Michif words, an author’s note with additional information about the Ojibwe people, and a note from author Cynthia Leitich Smith introducing the series.  80 pages; grades 1-4.

Pros:  Although it’s still too rare a phenomenon, it is nice to see a few books this year with Indigenous characters in everyday settings and humorous situations (shout-out to HarperCollins’ Heartdrum imprint and Cynthia Leitich Smith for being a driving force behind this).  Readers not quite ready for Smith’s Ancestor Approved will enjoy meeting spunky Jo Jo and learning about her life on the Ojibwe reservation.

Cons:  Fern seemed like a great friend, and I didn’t really get why Jo Jo was worried about losing her.

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