A collection of needy pets “all feel better” with a little help from their child reader friends.
It’s a rough day to be a pet! There’s an animal in mild crisis on each double-page spread. Poor kitty’s yarn is a total mess. But never fear! Youngsters are told exactly how to touch the page (“swirl the yarn to wind it”), and with a gratifying lift of the flap, the kitten is now snuggling a “nice and neat” ball of wool. A direct address from the pet praising readers for the assistance that “saved the day!” taps perfectly into a toddler’s deep desire to help. Among the instructions are a wide variety of ways to interact with pages, and while some, such as “open,” and “push,” will be familiar, others such as “pat” and “pinch” may build vocabulary. (These activities are mostly imaginary, as the physical interactions are confined to lifting flaps.) With their sketchily drawn bodies, the cartoonlike pets aren’t the cutest critters on the block, but it’s a genuine pleasure to watch pleading eyes and drooping bodies transform into perky, effervescent animals. If the concept is a sweet surprise, the book itself is not. The dots of its halftone printing are distractingly apparent, and several of the curved, not-particularly-substantial flaps catch and crease. Additionally, flaps and backgrounds share the same deeply saturated colors, making the flaps’ edges frustratingly difficult to find.
Although the book’s production quality leaves something to be desired, toddlers will adore helping out their new animal buddies. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)