Eleven-year-old Poppy, the protagonist of Seaglass Summer by Anjali Banerjee, wants to be a veterinarian like her Uncle Sanjay. Too bad her mother is allergic to anything with fur and Poppy has never had a pet. So this summer, instead of accompanying her parents to visit relatives in India, Poppy travels from LA to an island off the coast of Washington State, armed with her Deluxe Veterinarian First-Aid Kit, to be Uncle Sanjay's helper at his Furry Friends Animal Clinic.
The episodic chapters serve this type of story well. The book is sweet without sugar-coating the sometimes gross and sad realities of pet health care, and without skirting issues such as disagreement by Uncle Sanjay's father with Sanjay's career choice. Multicultural without making multiculturalism the issue, enriched with lovely setting details, the novel will greatly interest animal lovers. Poppy is a conscientious, appealing girl who learns that growing up isn't instantaneous, that dreams don't always match reality, but that she can do more than she thought, too.
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