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The Perfect Pet
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PreS-Gr. 2. Elizabeth won't take no for an answer when her parents refuse to get her a pet. Although she likes her pet cactus, Carolyn, she really wants something that moves, so she hatches plan after plan, determined to get what she wants. She tries "Element of Surprise," waking her parents up at night to request a horse. "Father yawned, 'A horse is too big.' / Mother sighed, 'Our yard is too small.'" Elizabeth receives similar responses when she tries "Catch Them Off Guard" to request a dog, and the "Full Stomach" approach to ask for a cat while at the dinner table. Nothing works, but just as Elizabeth runs out of ideas, she discovers Doug, a bug, right on her rug. Then, she has to convince her mother that Doug is perfect. "Think we should have said 'yes' to the dog." whispers Father to Mother. Whatley's bright, double-page spreads are hilarious, depicting the best- and the worst-case scenarios of pet ownership. Great for reading aloud; children will delight in Elizabeth's resourcefulness and persistence. Helen Rosenberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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PreS-Gr 2-Palatini adds her own brand of offbeat humor and an unexpected ending to the traditional story of a child trying to convince her parents that she should have a pet. Elizabeth accepts the substitute cactus plant ("-it had quite a prickly sense of humor") and even names it, but she doesn't give up, surprising her parents in bed, in the bathroom ("Catch Them Off Guard"), and at the dinner table. While she enumerates the advantages of each animal, requesting everything from a horse to a rat, her parents counter with the negatives. Finally, the child finds her own solution. She adopts a bug, names him Doug, and provides him with a perfect habitat, good food, and companionship. He is the perfect pet, and Elizabeth loves him for his differences and individuality. Mother, on the other hand, is not happy with the idea. There is a happy ending, though, as Doug joins the family on the couch with a bowl of popcorn. The finely crafted illustrations in both delicate pastel shades and bright colors combine realistic pictures of animals and people with cartoon elements and an engaging little bug. For storytimes, combine this winner with Liesel Moak Skorpen's All the Lassies (Dial, 1970; o.p.) and Judith Viorst's poem "Mother Doesn't Want a Dog." Good for individual or group sharing.-Marlene Gawron, formerly at Orange County Library, Orlando, FL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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