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Monday, November 11, 2013

The Pet Project, written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Zachariah Ohora. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster. 2013. $19.99 ages 6 and up

"From the side of the road
she looked so serene,
happily chewing her cud.

Upon closer inspection
she seemed sort of mean,
nudging me into the mud.

From the side of the road
I breathed the fresh air,
the grass and the rye smelled so sweet."

Ah, this may be the answer to the perpetual begging from young children for a pet. In this case, the parents propose a scientific query and a plan to persuade them that a pet is an appropriate request at this time:

"They urged me to learn all I can.
"Devise a scientific plan."

They added to this conversation.
"Write down every observation."

Then they handed me a pen.
"When you're through, we'll talk again." "

And so the study begins at the farm. Meeting first a cow, then a chicken is no incentive for a farm pet. When she meets a pony, she feels her search is over. Alas, three weeks later, the pony proves to be unreliable: a stomper, a kicker and a biter! The doves and sheep are no more amenable. It's off to the zoo!

This expedition leads to a study of the monkey, tiger, penguin, hippopotamus, and finally a polar bear. Each has it's own idiosyncrasies that prove insurmountable. Perhaps, closer to home holds the answer to the dilemma. She checks in the woods. Skunks, squirrels and bunnies are unable to meet her criteria for an appealing pet.

The solution may be found in a home study. The test subjects are varied. Not a goldfish, or an ant farm. A puppy and a kitten both prove problematic:

"When a kitten is your pet,
you never know what you will get.
One minute it's as sweet as pie,
the next, it's swatting at your eye.
Its personality is split.
I think I best get rid of it."

At the pet store, things don't get better.

Finally, her scientific observation results in these conclusions:

"My research gave me food for
I know what kind of kid I'm not.
I'm not the kind for mucking stalls
or brushing fur
or throwing balls
or cleaning bowls
or clipping nails
or watching out
for wagging tails.

I am the sort who soon forgets,
and that's not good when you've got


What do you think? Might it work? I say, give it a try!!!

Kids are going to love this...therefore, it may not be the answer to your pet dilemma. The poems are great fun, the artwork ensures that readers are in on the jokes. Enjoy!


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