Bartholomew’s love for his pets extends to the classroom, much to the dismay of his exasperated teacher, Mr. Patanoose.
Bartholomew can count a great many species of animals as pets: a goat, dogs, a snake, birds, fish, a spider—he has them all, and a few more in between. Each day of the week Bartholomew brings a different pet to school. On Monday, after he brings in Ferdinand the frog, Mr. Patanoose says, “No frogs in school.” So on Tuesday, Bartholomew brings in Sigfried the salamander—after all, a salamander is not a frog. Amphibians are then banned. On Wednesday Bartholomew brings in Horace the hamster (not an amphibian), leading to a no-rodents rule. Bartholomew continues skirting Mr. Patanoose’s rules until finally he decides to donate Rivka the rabbit to the class so that the adorable gray bunny can be everyone’s pet. This charming story uses repetition and humor to cleverly share information, as Bartholomew, a brown-skinned boy with black curly hair, uses his love for and knowledge of animals to find loopholes in Mr. Patanoose’s increasing list of rules. The cartoony illustrations are a colorful mix of watercolors abundant with vibrant yellows and pale greens. In the depiction of Bartholomew’s multicultural classroom is one notable misstep, as it includes a black girl with plaits sticking up all over her head, harkening unhappily back to the Little Rascals’ Buckwheat and other pickaninny stereotypes.
Visual stumble aside, each page lends itself to an energetic seek-and-find storytime that promises new discoveries upon multiple reads. (Picture book. 4-8)