Children and animals mingle at a pet show in this picture book.
Variety is on full display in this second collaboration by DiTerlizzi and Wenzel. Their first, Some Bugs (2014), had its reveal at the end of the story. In this, the reveal comes first, as the double-spread title page shows a city park hosting a busy pet show. The illustrations that follow—all double-page spreads—are scenes pulled out and amplified from this beginning overview. DiTerlizzi’s spare, rhyming words give structure to Wenzel’s kaleidoscopic illustrations, which in their turn amply adorn the minimalist text. The plot is a celebration of diversity, both human and animal, as everyone cavorts and cuddles. The idea of animals sharing space with humans in a human-created habitat is a nice one, and a note from the creators at the end emphasizes the commitment needed for responsible pet ownership. This important message, however, is not crystal clear in the body of the story itself—one illustration shows pigs with racing bibs evidently competing for the entertainment of the children. Many children of color are depicted, but the child who is picked out for special attention at the end of the story is white, as is the man who gives her the gold medal.
Exuberant in its visuals and narratively well crafted but with slight blind spots. (Picture book. 2-5)