PETEY by Tobi Tobias


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Shimin's characteristic dappled glow, this time on peachy-rose pages, puts a mawkish cast on Tobias' first-person story of the death of a girl's pet gerbil. One day, on her usual after-school checkup, Emily finds Petey huddled and shivering in his cage. Daddy helps her fuss with him while discussing the implications, and by morning Petey is dead. Emily cries, and then she and her parents remember the good times with him and bury him in the yard; at the end she's ""thinking over"" the offer of two new gerbils. Tobias' telling is relatively natural and no doubt other gerbil owners will see nothing sappy in Emily's ""think[ing] about how cute he was when he was a little baby."" To be sure, many children are similarly affected by such a loss, but Shimin's wallowing in pathos is better suited to little Eva's demise than to that of a caged rodent. And by now there are so many requiems for dead pets that Tobias offers nothing new.

Pub Date: April 14th, 1978
Publisher: Putnam