Mina by Matthew Forsythe

Published by Simon and Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

Summary:  Mina usually keeps her nose buried in a book when her father brings home one of his “surprises”.  But when one surprise turns out to be a cat (“It’s a squirrel! Squirrels are bigger than mice and have long, bushy tails!”), Mina starts to worry.  Despite her concerns, the cat becomes part of the family, even sporting a sweater that Mina knits for it.  When the cat stops eating, though, Dad’s solution is to bring home two more cats, who also refuse to eat.  The doctor is called, who diagnoses the problem correctly: “These squirrels are definitely cats,” at which point the cats chase the three mice.  All seems hopeless until a surprise twist–the direct result of Mina’s ingenuity–saves them all.  68 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  Any child who has secretly wondered if they are smarter than the adults around them will love this quirky story.  Pay careful attention to the clever illustrations which often reveal more than the words.

Cons:  We all know someone like Mina’s father, who seems like he would have a “dad joke” for every occasion.

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