Midwest Book Review — The Picturebook Shelf
Synopsis: “Harvey the Hippo Meets Mickey Mandarin: A Story of Non-Binary Friends” by author/storyteller Abby Pete and artist/illustrator Leslie Pontz is a picture book story of gender binary and non-binary new friends making introductions, learning a little background about each other and finding that although they may identify differently, they all still like to play and have fun the same way. The animals are proud to say how they like to be addressed, such as he/him, she/her or they/them.
Critique: Fully age appropriate for children 4 to 7 years old, “Harvey the Hippo Meets Mickey Mandarin: A Story of Non-Binary Friends” is an ideal introduction to LGBTQ relevant story of friendship and gender identification. Fun and informative, “Harvey the Hippo Meets Mickey Mandarin: A Story of Non-Binary Friends” is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library LGBTQ collections for very young children. It should be noted for persona reading lists that “Harvey the Hippo Meets Mickey Mandarin: A Story of Non-Binary Friends” is also available in a paperback edition (9781615997459, $18.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.95).
Editorial Note #1: Abby Pete (https://harveythehippo.com) retired from teaching English and started a family and a catering/takeout food business in central Pennsylvania. Years passed and she moved to Philadelphia, bringing her family, but not her business, with her. There she decided to pursue another of her interests, animals, and became a docent at the Philadelphia Zoo, where she can happily talk about all of the animals in the collection. Abby lives with her husband, Ron.
Editorial Note: Leslie Pontz (http://lesliepontz.com) is a fiber sculptor with a master’s degree in Fine Arts from Syracuse University where she did her thesis on children’s art, and was the recipient of two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts through the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts as an Artist-in-residence. Leslie has shown internationally in invitational and juried exhibits in France, Brazil, Ireland, and Venezuela as well as throughout the U.S. She is the recipient of several awards for her work, which is featured in many private and public collections including but not limited to the Kamm, Best Western, Chestnut Hill Hotel and Philadelphia Museum of Art collections.