cover image A Pet for Petunia

A Pet for Petunia

Paul Schmid, Harper, $12.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-196331-5

Extroverted Petunia wears a striped purple jumper and lives a life filled with exclamation points; she "wants wants, wants! a REAL pet skunk." She pleads with her parents, who are never on-camera; it's mostly Petunia's side of the conversation, overheard like half of a cellphone call. Her begging culminates with a rant so impassioned that it fills an entire page with words that start out huge and shrink, line by line, as her protests lose steam: "STINK? How can you say that!...You said no when I wanted a python, too! I bet Katie's parents would get her a skunk." Schmid's (The Wonder Book) line drawings are simple, fluid, and convey lots of valuable information: when Petunia makes a snack for her stuffed skunk, the milk carton on the table leaks where she's ripped it open, betraying her claims of responsible care ("I'll feed my skunk every day. I promise!"). An encounter with a real skunk gets Petunia's mind off pets—briefly. Enthusiastic and single-minded, Petunia makes delightful company; kids will recognize themselves and clamor for rereads. Ages 3–7. (Feb.)