Bookish Gabby Jordan, athletic Priya Gupta, and trendy Mindy Kim don’t have a lot in common when they first meet at school. That is until the girls realize they all adore animals even if none of them can have a pet of their own.
Desperate to get in some face time with literally any furry friends, the girls come up with a few plans. After their initial attempts don’t go as well as they’d hoped, PAWs (Pretty Awesome Walkers) is born to fill the gap in their neighborhood for afterschool dog walking.
While the dogs are great, it turns out running a business can be hard–even when it’s with your best friends. With arguments about uniforms, schedules, and commitment to the business it’s starting to feel like there’s not even any time left to spend with their doggy clientele.
When things (and leashes) get out of hand Gabby, Priya, and Mindy will have to work together if they want to save their business and their friendship in Gabby Gets It Together (2022) by Michele Assarasakorn and Nathan Fairbairn.
Gabby Gets It Together is the first of what will hopefully be a long running series. This volume introduces all of the characters (including their main dog clients) and the club leaving lots of room to grow in later volumes. Gabby is biracial (her dad is shown with brown skin while her mom is lighter), Priya is Indian, and Mindy is Korean. The story takes place in Canada.
Voiceovers from Gabby and snappy dialogue move this story along while colorful and detailed artwork create engrossing panels on every page. All of the animals PAWs encounter are drawn with loving care–if you aren’t an animal lover when you start this graphic novel, you might be by the end!
In addition to discovering many furry friends, the members of PAWs navigate the ins and outs of new friendship and a new business throughout the story as they work with parents to figure out realistic workloads and communicate with clients what they can and can’t do. All of this is presented in a way that’s realistic for a group of pre-teens and also offers a potential framework for any young readers who might be inspired to try starting their own dog walking venture.
With its sense of humor and focus on friendship, Gabby Gets It Together–and the rest of this series–make a great read-a-like for the classic Baby-Sitters’ Club (in prose or graphic form) and titles like Real Friends by Shannon Hale. Highly Recommended.
Possible Pairings: Home Sweet Forever Home by Rachele Alpine and Addy Rivera Sonda, Best Babysitters Ever by Caroline Cala, The Great Pet Heist by Emily Ecton and David Mottram, Real Friends by Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham, and Jane Poole, Clara Humble and the Not-So-Super Powers by Anna Humphrey and Lisa Cinar, All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson, Allergic: A Graphic Novel by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter, Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier, Click by Kayla Miller, Good Dogs with Bad Haircuts Rachel Wenitsky, David Sidorov, Tor Freeman, Original Recipe by Jessica Young