"A generous, thoughtful celebration of community and embracing life’s transitions."
– — School Library Journal
*A little boy, facing the wrenching reality of moving away from the city and apartment he shares with his mother, presumably because they can no longer pay the rent, translates his desperation into magical thinking during their last visit to the neighborhood laundromat. The boy, Sam, who narrates, is upfront about not wanting to move into his grandpa's tiny trailer in another state, even though it comes with lots of candy and a small dog. He'll miss the city, their apartment, and the laundromat, filled with the same people, sounds, and smells every Sunday. He mentally converts the washing machine into a wishing machine, as the clothes cycle around to a wish-wish-wish sound. He's wishing for rent money so they can stay. Although the story is poignant, the boy's point of view and his humorous transforming of machines into magical dispensers of money makes this relatable and even cheerful, especially with him realizing, at book's end, that home is wherever he and his mother are. The illustrations, done in colored pencil, Photoshop, and Procreate, capture the urban environment and make the laundromat's washers, dryers, and vending machines fun to watch. Beautifully heartbreaking and heartening, all at once.
– Booklist, STARRED, 10/15/2023
*Sam and Mom go to the laundromat one last time before they move in with Grandpa.
The young narrator isn’t so sure about the impending move, which will mean leaving the friends Sam and Mom see at the laundromat every Sunday. Sam makes a wish on the coins that are inserted into the machines and asks other people what theirs would be. Their answers include a new scooter, a green card, and a fluffy cat. Sam wants just one thing: “to stay in our apartment.” After the laundry is done, enough coins are left for Sam to buy cookies from the vending machine, and when the machine spits out a flood of coins (“Enough for the rent!”), it seems Sam’s wish has magically come true—though Mom gently points out they can’t keep the money. The many diverse background characters and occasional fantastical elements make for a colorful and stimulating read. Though Sam grapples with big emotions, the simple and sometimes silly text allows room for both moments of fun and those where the child’s concerns are addressed. Sam’s love for Mom and their community shines through their heavily implied poverty, and both the protagonist and readers are left with the message that despite hardship, being together with loved ones trumps everything else. Sam and Mom are light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)
By turns whimsical and deeply honest, this is a moving testament to the power of love in the face of change. (Picture book. 4-8)
– Kirkus Reviews, STARRED, 8/15/2023