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Heartwood Hotel 1: A True Home: 04/02/19
Heartwood Hotel 1: A True Home by Kallie George is the start of a new children's series by the author of the Magical Animal Adoption Agency. It opens with Mona, a young mouse, trying to find somewhere dry to sleep during a terrible storm. Her only possession are items in a suitcase with a heart carved on the side.
After a few false starts, Mona stumbles upon a magnificent tree that is the home to a grand hotel for traveling animals. She's given a place to stay if she agrees to work as a maid, helping a grumpy squirrel who is afraid of being replaced by Mona.
Mona's time at the Heartwood Hotel is broken up into little episodes. There is a run in with a bear. There are the skunks who are nobility but aren't always the best of guests. There is a bird with a broken wing, and a bug with a suitcase full of money.
All of this is set against the threat of wolves. They want nothing more than to find the hotel and eat everyone inside. They are the closest they've ever been and will find the hotel unless Mona's plan works.
It's a solid and delightful start to a series. The characters are further brought to life by Stephanie Graegin's illustrations.
This book also fits in the road narrative spectrum. Mona is both a literal orphan and a lone traveler (FF). Her destination or goal is a safe, dry home (66). Her journey there is through the forest, in a stumbling, disoriented sort of way — or offroad (66). Put all together it's an orphan in search for a home via an offroad journey (FF6666).
The second book in the series is Heartwood Hotel 2: The Greatest Gift (2017)