cover image The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses

The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses

Lisa Wheeler, illus. by Zachariah OHora. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-7595-3

When a bespectacled girl with pigtails asks her parents for a pet, they suggest she take a scientific approach, researching potential animals. The girl’s investigations take her to the farm, zoo, woods, and more, but the results are not encouraging. A monkey’s “fur is full of bugs and lice/ He flings his poo—His aim’s precise.” Rabbits are “Steadfast fur soldiers,/ armed to the teeth... conquering cabbages row upon row.” And cats are downright bipolar: “Pitter-patter pampered paws,/ ripping razor cutting claws.” OHora’s chunky acrylic caricatures are well suited to Wheeler’s lightly wicked humor (a pony is shown in a beauty salon chair, mane in curlers, kicking at the girl). The poems may not make children rethink their pet dreams, but they’ll certainly laugh at the worst-case scenarios. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Sean McCarthy, Sheldon Fogelman Agency. (Apr.)