Animal Rescue Friends

Animal Rescue Friends cover

Young readers might enjoy these slight stories about kids helping animals, but overall, Animal Rescue Friends is bland. It’s written by Gina Loveless and Meika Hashimoto and illustrated by Genevieve Kote.

Maddie finds a lost dog in the park and takes it home. Since her apartment building doesn’t allow pets, she has to take it to Animal Rescue Friends. She starts volunteering as a way to keep seeing the animal.

She and another volunteer fight, which leads to a horse getting loose. That’s handled very quickly, which is true of most of the dramatic moments in this book. Things move along rapidly, which means plenty happens, but it’s hard to get any feeling of emotional development. It’s on to another thing right away.

Other challenges involve a ferret and her new kits, helping an injured cat, and a boy with social anxiety finding a pet rabbit and stopping bullies from pulling a prank. The animals are humanized, with the ferret seeming to understand conversation, and the original dog being really intelligent about helping with the other animals, often saving the day.

The lessons are also obvious. One is being careful who you hang out with. Another is about letting others help you instead of trying to do everything yourself. (I’m not sure that moral makes a lot of sense for this age group.) All the kids end up with adopted pets without much consideration for how much work an animal can be.

The animals are cute, although the storytelling sometimes has gaps. When there are action sequences, as when an escaped rabbit is supposed to be bounding around the office, it can be difficult to tell exactly what’s going on from the pictures. They’re a bit too static.

Overall, everything’s got a happy ending, and pets are the best things ever. Animal Rescue Friends reads to me as if it was created more with parents and teachers in mind than kids, as there’s very little conflict and everything works out perfectly without much actually happening. It’s the kind of book that feels safe to give a young reader, whether they’d be interested or not.

(The publisher provided a review copy. Review originally posted at Good Comics for Kids.)

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