Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses

The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses

Lisa Wheeler
Illustrator:  Zachariah OHara 
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
Simon and Schuster, 2013   ISBN: 978-1416975953

A little girl wants a pet, but her parents say “Not quite yet,” and they advise their daughter to do “research” and “Devise a scientific plan” to determine which pet would be right for her. Not deterred by this unusual demand, the little girl gets a notebook and “prepped to study in the field,” she goes to a farm to see potential pets for herself.

   Carefully the little girl makes field observations of a cow, a chicken, a pony, a dove, and a sheep. Though some of the animals seem promising at first, she soon realizes that a farm animal will not work for her. The sheep is too smelly, the pony too troublesome, and the chicken is downright aggressive. No, farm animals are out of the question. Perhaps a zoo animal would be a better fit.

   The little girl is not at the zoo long before it becomes clear that a monkey, penguin, tiger, polar bear, or hippo will not make a good pet. One might eat her, the other is very odiferous, and could one ever get used to having a pet that eats raw fish? And what about a pet that has fur that is “full of bugs and lice?” No, zoo animals will not do at all.

   Woodland animals are not much better, so the little girl decides that she needs to try animals that are perhaps a little less exotic. This time she will “bring some beasties in” so that she can properly test out each potential pet in her home. Surely one of the animals will end up being the right one.

   Children who are eager to have a pet of their own are going to enjoy this wonderful picture book with its unique collection of poems. With plenty of humor and a clever use of language, the author gives her readers a special poetry picture book experience.