Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Pet Project

A little girl wants a pet, and her parents tell her to go do some scientific research to find out which pet is best.

The story takes place all in rhyme, clever and cute as the budding scientist earnestly makes field observations and takes notes of her misadventures with animals that don't make great pets after all:

Upon closer inspection
I smelled dairy air
as the cow dropped a pie at my feet.

She visits a farm, zoo, the woods, and a pet store in her quest, with poems and observations of each type of animal - most of which prove more troublesome than they're worth. My favorite illustration was of the poem "Bunnies", showing rabbits dressed like soldiers plotting in their warren. A note of warning for parents with sensitive kids: the truth about why the pet shop, which also sells snakes, keeps so many mice may be hard news.

The whole book wraps with a perfect twist ending for this scientifically-minded girl. Shel Silverstein fans will appreciate the humor of the poetry. Wheeler has many other books of poetry for children, including Spinster Goose: Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children. The bright and bold illustrations are by Zachariah OHora, who has his own books, Stop Snoring, Bernard! and No Fits, Nilson! 

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