A Donkey Called Mistletoe
Helen Peters, Author
Walker Books, Fiction, Sep. 14, 2021
Suitable for ages: 7-9
Themes: Donkey, Rescue animals, Intergenerational relationships, Holidays
What better time than the Christmas season for aspiring vet Jasmine Green to find a new home for her elderly neighbor’s gentle donkey?
When Jasmine Green and her best friend, Tom, visit their neighbor Mr. Hobson to help him with some chores, they discover that he is selling his farm and moving to a nearby assisted living facility. Because Mr. Hobson won’t have a home for his beloved donkey, Mistletoe, anymore, he is planning to send him to a faraway sanctuary.
Jasmine doesn’t want to see them separated, so she hatches a plan to keep Mistletoe at Oak Tree Farm, where Mr. Hobson could visit him whenever he liked. But caring for a donkey is lots of work (as Jasmine’s parents often remind her), especially with her mischievous younger brother around.
When the school nativity play encounters a mishap, Jasmine realizes she may have the perfect understudy right in her backyard. From author Helen Peters and illustrator Ellie Snowdon, this latest book in the Jasmine Green Rescues series offers a heartwarming tale of multigenerational friendship and holiday spirit.
Why I like this book:
A Donkey Called Mistletoe is a charming new tale for the Christmas season. It is a story that will warm the hearts many animal lovers. It is also a story about rescuing animals, intergenerational relationships, and life on a working farm. Readers will enjoy the human-animal bond between the characters and the rescued animals. A young boy, Harrison, who is probably on the autism spectrum, develops a very close bond with the donkey that is beneficial and helps soothe him. So touching to see the donkey as a therapy animal.
The characters are all memorable. Jasmine is a spunky but compassionate protagonist who would fill the farm with any animal needing help. She’s a hard and responsible worker and readers will learn a lot of detail about taking care of animals — especially the donkey who needs daily grooming. And there is a lot of poop to be scooped up daily.
I enjoy sharing really good chapter books that help kids transition to middle grade books. And this one is a wonderful series for animal lovers! Ellie Snowdon’s pen and ink illustrations are lively, appear on most pages and give readers a better sense of the action. I also like the fun map at the beginning of the story that shows where all the animals live at Oak Tree Farm.
There is a quiz at the end of each book that will encourage kids to talk about the story, especially their favorite parts. I highly recommend this book and the many other books in the Jasmine Green Rescues series: A Duckling Called Button, A Piglet Called Truffle, A Collie Called Sky, A Kitten Called Holly, A Goat Called Willow and A Lamb Called Lucky.
Helen Peters is the author of numerous books for young readers that feature heroic girls saving the day, including the Jasmine Green Rescues series. She grew up on an old-fashioned farm surrounded by family, animals, and mud. Helen Peters lives in East Sussex, England.
Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.
*Review copy provided by Walker Books in exchange for a review.
19 thoughts on “A Donkey Called Mistletoe by Helen Peters”
Perfect for the season. I love these books.
Perfect holiday read! Such a feel good story!
This does sound like a great holiday book. The Jasmine Green Rescue series is so perfect for lower middle grade kids and reluctant readers. Thanks for your informative review.
I agree. Am going to have to check out some of the other stories!
I love this series, and it’s been a hit with my struggling sixth grade readers who don’t want really long books. I’ve also had a lot of interest in Christmas stories this year. I would have loved these books when I was young.
That’s good to know. I know I would have loved this story too!
This is such a wonderful series – and I knew this story was coming, but forgot it would hit the shelves now. Perfect timing for a story about the holidays and the connections people develop with animals.
Yes, it is perfect for elementary kids not quite ready for MG novels. Fun holiday story!
I love stories like this. Animals and the holidays are a perfect match. I’m going to urge a few reluctant readers to give this one a go. Thanks for featuring on today’s MMGM.
I enjoyed reading this book! Put a smile on my face as will will 5th and 6th graders.
What a sweet story. Plus, Mom and I LOVE donkeys. We have never even seen one up close in person, since we are city girls, but we love them anyway.
Love and licks,
You would adore this story, Cupcake! Especially the interaction with the retirement home.
I’m not familiar with this series, but this addition sounds like such a fun read for the holidays! Animal rescues, therapy animals, school plays, intergenerational friendship—it sounds like there’s a ton of cool stuff packed in here. Thanks so much for the thoughtful review, Patricia!
Yes, it was new to me, but I’m delighted to find this series for great grandchildren.
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I love the title of this book, Patricia, and it sounds like a delightful story too – perfect for this time of year.
Yes the title and the cover will draw readers. Saw it at the store the other day.
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Jasmine sounds like a terrific character, and the story sounds great as well. Thanks for telling me about it. I will try to check it out.
Fun adventure for younger readers! And, I love that this story is about the holidays and involves senior citizens.