MINA by Matthew Forsythe

From the author/illustrator of Pokko and the Drum is Matthew Forsythe’s latest book, Mina. I read it and was smitten with the beautiful, subtle color palette. And when I went to pull photos for my post, I was amused to bump into a few reviews from individuals who didn’t adore the story as much as I did.

What is funny about the critical opinions I read is that what they didn’t care for about the story is precisely what I liked about it ☺️(Hence proving the subjectivity of review opinions).

Mina’s father is notorious for bringing home unusual surprises. So many quirky curiosities in fact, that Mina has become impervious to them. Until one day he brings home a cat— Which he believes is a squirrel. More cats appear and in the end they chase and try to eat the mice. There are some subtle silli-nesses to the story that made me chuckle out loud and a darling little character who saves the day. I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

‘All in life is not always sunny and perfect’ is the message which I found endearing. Harkening back to old fashioned fairy tales that are a little bit dark and scary (I know, and some that are terribly horrifying!) feels refreshing and unexpected. It’s a story where adults are not always right just because they’re adults, and they don’t always save the day.

I enjoyed that Dad made a mistake. After all, parents are far from perfect.

And our world is full of danger and (unfortunately) there are cats that try to eat us.

Mina is a wonderful book to open up conversations with children about fear and trust. The illustrations are stunning and the book feels weighty, beautiful, and substantial.

And it made me giggle.

I hope you enjoy it.

Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Jennifer is the illustrator and author of several acclaimed picture books. Most recently is Always by My Side, 'A Stuffie Story', which she wrote and illustrated. She also is both the author and illustrator of Playing Possum, and Blue Ethel. Jennifer illustrated Gondra’s Treasure, written by Newbery award winner Linda Sue Park. As well as, Sometimes You Fly, by Newbery medalist, Katherine Applegate. She illustrated Yaks Yak, Animal Word Pairs by Linda Sue Park, The Inventor's Secret, What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford, by Suzanne Slade, Rabbi Benjamin's Buttons, by Alice B. McGinty, and The Adventures of a South Pole Pig, by Chris Kurtz.


  1. This looks lovely! Thank you for sharing it.

  2. One of my absolute faves this year!

  3. Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing this intriguing book. i will defnitely put it on hold at my library.

  4. Thanks for the post! I enjoy Matthew Forsythe’s style and a little touch of ‘dark” in a PB. I will be checking this book out- on my list!

  5. Oh my gosh! I can’t take my eyes off this cover…Just imagine what’s inside!

  6. I love this book–and fairy tales. A bit of darkness can be lovely!

  7. Count me in as a MINA fan!

  8. I love this book!!! So glad you featured it! It’s a great example of how illustration and text work together to tell a full story!

  9. I recently read MINA and thought it was delightful fun! Thanks for highlighting it for PBB!

  10. This looks lovely. I’ll be checking it out. Thank you for shining a spotlight on it.

  11. I love the cover art!
    And regarding reviews… some folks weren’t so sure about Where The Wild Things Are, right? I look forward to reading MINA with curiosity and an open mind. It sounds a bit quirky and fun! Thanks, Jennifer, for reminding us that reviews are subjective. It is helpful for authors and illustrators to remember that when confronted with criticism of their stories and art.

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