“Heartwood Hotel: A True Home” and “Heartwood Hotel: The Greatest Gift” by Kallie George is the start of a series that young chapter book readers will love. Especially if they love animals.
In the first book, Mona, the young orphan mouse protagonist, falls into an adventure. After losing her home in a storm, she explores the forest and comes across the Heartwood Hotel. There she meets Gilles, the lizard who “mans” the front desk. She also meets the badger, Mr. Heartwood, who owns the hotel, conveniently located inside a forest tree. And she also meets Tilly, who starts as an enemy but is not necessarily what she appears to be at first.
The second book expands on Mona’s story. The hotel faces a problem with an upcoming celebration, the St. Slumber Supper, and Mona is the only one who is able to solve the problem. Their food supply is suspiciously dwindlingm and no one knows who the thief is, so Mona and Tilly go off on an adventure to try the help the hotel. During their adventure, Tilly finds a long-lost family member, and they must figure out how to defeat the wolves’ dastardly plan.
Mona’s ability to make friends and obtain their loyalty make her a great main character. She is intelligent, caring, and loyal, and she doesn’t give up.
Sofia Perkins, assistant reviewer, gives this book 4 stars. She says, “It’s really good!”
There aren’t many good books for that age where kids like reading chapter books but may not be ready for more sophisticated reads. For advanced second graders and third through fifth graders, this is a series that certainly fills a gap.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover books provided by Disney-Hyperion, the publisher, for review purposes.