cover image Let's Get a Pet

Let's Get a Pet

Harriet Ziefert. Viking Children's Books, $13.5 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-670-84550-7

With Smith's ( Come Visit My House ; Harry Takes a Bath ) bright cartoon drawings presented in panels, and Ziefert's (author of the Hello Reading series) lively story line and copious, generally sensible instruction on pet care, this volume offers something for youngsters in all parts of the wide intended audience. A family is considering getting a pet, but each member wants a different animal. The father states wisely that they must obtain more information on what caring for each variety of pet entails, and ``Then we can make a family decision.'' As the characters learn about the traits, habits and needs of ``small furry animals,'' birds, fish, cats and dogs, so do readers and their parents. Humorous illustrations accompany nuggets of advice (``If you want an animal you can cuddle, then don't get a hedgehog''; ``Somebody has to sweep under a bird cage''). Although occasionally misguided (most trainers and vets, for example, strongly discourage purchasing a dog from a pet store) and a bit scanty on the rewards of pet ownership, this work is, on balance, a pleasant amalgam of entertainment and instruction. Ages 3-10. (Jan.)