Mikis and the Donkey / by Bibi Dumon Tak; Illustrated by Philip Hopman. 11.3.2015

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers ISBN 9780802854308

INT Grades 2-5 Rating: 5

Mikis and the Donkey is the story of Mikis, a little boy who lives on the Greek island of Corfu. One day after school, Mikis’ grandparents have a huge surpise for him–a new donkey to help haul wood and with other chores. The grandparents get a surprise when the donkey, whom Mikis names Tsaki, becomes his best friend. From taking the donkey to a human doctor (not a veterinarian) to care for her wounds, to convincing grandpa that Tsaki needs better living conditions and finding a donkey friend for Tsaki, Mikis’ bond with the donkey is strong. Tsaki, however, delivers the biggest surprise of all.

Bibi Dumon Tak’s writing buzzes with energy. With just a few words peppered throughout the book, Tak brings the island of Corfu to life. Through excellent dialogue each character is given a voice, and the characters are endearing. While Mikis doesn’t have a huge character arc, his grandfather does as he comes to the realization that Mikis is right and the donkey should be treated better. The plentiful pencil illustrations add another dimension to the story. The pace of the story clips along like a little journey to Greece where new places, new friends, and new relationships surround the reader.

Kristina Wolcott, CLJ