Wanted: The Perfect Pet

Fiona Roberton, Author, Fiona Roberton, Illustrator
Fiona Roberton, Author, Fiona Roberton, Illustrator . Putnam $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-25461-1
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-670-07356-6
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-4449-0262-4
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For her U.S. debut, Roberton provides line drawings just substantive enough to carry her story. Her hero, Henry, is a moon-headed boy who has 27 kinds of frogs but deeply wants a dog. Though her images possess an understated humor, Roberton seems more interested in words, and the story's real appeal is in her winking blend of whimsy and irony. The lonely duck who answers Henry's ad for a dog (“Must have waggy tail, floppy ears, soft wet nose and warm furry tongue”) is exposed as a fraud almost immediately, but Henry is quick to realize that a duck has charms of its own. “Can FLY!” he jots down in a list of Duck Skills. “Could put on aeronautical show to earn extra pocket money.” The asides are just as funny as the main story—Henry's newspaper ad for the perfect pet appears next to an ad for a time machine and an angry mob for hire—yet Henry's quick about-face and loyalty to his new pet feel genuine. A read-aloud tale good for some decorous giggling before bed. Ages 5–8. (May)

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