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THE PERFECT PET by Margie Palatini


by Margie Palatini & illustrated by Bruce Whatley

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-000108-9
Publisher: HarperCollins

Elizabeth must pull out all the stops to convince Mother and Father to trade in Carolyn, her cactus, for a real pet. Elizabeth’s various methods of persuasion—using the element of surprise, catching them off guard, and going for broke—all prove futile, eliciting only a standard response of “Huh? What? Who?” from her parents. Luckily, Elizabeth stumbles on to the ideal pet, a bug she promptly adopts and names Doug. Everyone agrees that Doug is the perfect pet—even Mother and Father concede that Doug is better than a dog because they “have more room on the couch.” Palatini (Earthquack!, 2002, etc.) is once again exercising her masterful grip on picture-book humor; she makes funny look easy. Whatley’s illustrations, which are strikingly reminiscent of Norman Rockwell’s work and are in the style of his earlier Wait No Paint (2001), will also produce chuckles, as white backgrounds draw focus to the comical expressions of shock and confusion sported by Elizabeth’s parents. While this work is accessible to very young readers by virtue of Palatini’s easy-to-manage format—with subtle repetition in the narrative and subtitles—it’s wordy enough, and has enough substance, to get a laugh out of the easy-book crowd. And Elizabeth’s antics are sure to strike a funny bone. (Picture book. 3-8)