cover image I Have a Pet!

I Have a Pet!

Shari Halpern, Shari Helpern. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-02-741982-5

Pert colored-paper cut-outs illustrate this simple story about owning a pet. Five children have entered their pets in a show, and each takes a turn explaining the merits of his or her contestant, be it dog, cat, bird, hamster or lizard. Information on animal behavior, as well as care and feeding, are deftly woven throughout. All the entrants give such swell presentations that the judge has no choice but to award everyone some kind of prize. Halpern's (My River) straightforward text achieves an appealing balance of fact and emotion, and readers will relate to the characters' expressions of affection. The text also emphasizes the important responsibilities of pet ownership in an open, friendly tone. A zippy color scheme enlivens the goings-on. One small quibble-the children's mouths appear distorted when the artist attempts facial expressions other than smiles. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)