Dobrin's Gerbils (1969) is a handy pet owners' guide, but the author's imagination proves less fertile than his subject in this attempt to make a fun-to-read story out of the little rodents' tendency to proliferate. The perfunctory plot centers on a featureless little boy named David who loses his pet gerbil shortly after his family moves into a big old home. David is so sad that Father gets him a new one, whom he names Max, but soon afterwards Max also disappears. Later David and his sister discover a secret room in the house and whaddayaknow -- there are Herbert and Max, one of them evidently misnamed, and a litter that looks like a good start toward the millions and billions and jillions of gerbils that David jubilantly predicts. Not only is the title a dead giveaway but there's not a spark of life in Dobrin's ho-hum prose or his primerish one-color pictures of David's blandly typical family.