April and Avery

  • April and Avery
  • written and illustrated by Helen H. Wu
  • self-published
  • Roar Score: 3/5

As the father of half-Asian kids, I’m always on the lookout for good books from Asian creators or that prominently feature Asian characters.

It was therefore with great interest that I heard about Helen Wu’s book April and Avery. This is her self-published debut book (as both writer and illustrator), and it’s a charming tale about a lonely girl who wishes for a friend.

Here’s the synopsis:

April’s family never seemed to stay anywhere long enough for her to make friends. It was hard for April when everyone else had their best friends while she had no one. But she did have a secret friend called Wishy Bear. He was magical and could make her wishes come true. But April wanted someone to be her best friend forever. This is the story of how April found her best friend.

The illustrations are very cute and well suited to the story. The “friend” that April is granted is a little puppy she names Avery, and he’s adorable.

Zoey related to April’s bond to Wishy Bear, since she also has a stuffed animal that goes everywhere with her (what kid doesn’t?), and she enjoyed reading Avery’s lines throughout (Arf! Arf!). However, the monster from the cover, which is what immediately interested Zoey in the book, doesn’t show up until the very end. Zoey kept waiting for him to appear.

Verdict? It’s a cute debut effort from a children’s book illustrator. The story seems to drag a bit, and there is quite a bit of repetition. I was also a little disappointed that, even though April’s situation is familiar to many kids (i.e., she moves around a lot and finds it hard to make friends), she simply “wishes” for a friend and is granted a puppy. It would’ve been nice to see a story about actual friendships and the work involved in making and maintaining friends.

(Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book. My opinions are my own.)

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