cover image A Pet Named Sneaker

A Pet Named Sneaker

Joan Heilbroner, illus. by Pascal Lemaitre. Random, $8.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-307-97580-5

Sneaker is a sad pet shop snake until bright-eyed, freckle-faced Pete adopts him. “Sneaker liked his new home,” writes Heilbroner (Robert the Rose Horse), as Lemaitre (Artist Ted) shows the new BFFs making the most of Pete’s imagination and Sneaker’s slithery gifts: “He had fun with Pete. He played I Am a Necktie, I am a Hat, and I Am Handcuffs.” From there, it’s one sweet, goofy thing after another, with the sunny, color-saturated drawings driving the action of Heilbroner’s first book in 20 years. Sneaker wins over Pete’s squeamish classmates and learns to read and write his name (his penmanship is impressive considering he holds the pencil in his tail). By the end of the story, Sneaker has even found meaningful work as a lifeguard at a local pool—proof positive that nice snakes finish first. Told with easygoing assurance, marvelous economy, and goodhearted humor by two pros, this Beginner Book should sneak its way into the heart of early readers. Or as Sneaker would say, “Yesssssssssssssssssss!” Ages 5–8. Agent: Julie Just, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. Illustrator’s agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Jan.)