Posts Tagged ‘Pets’

The World’s Worst Pets by David Walliams, illus. Adam Stower. Pub. HarperCollins, 2022

May 16, 2022 Comments off

What can I add about David Walliams’ writing that hasn’t been written before except that it is superlative and he has done more to get reluctant kids into reading since J.K Rowling, Paul Jennings and R.L Stine.

This is a book of ten short stories about pets that have gone feral or are locked into a rivalry with another pet that is a catastrophe for the owners. Walliams also knows that kids like burps and farts and there is a knew noise a furp which is a combination of the two.

There is a story about the rivalry between cats and dogs in a musical context, why is there a musical about Cats and not Dogs but it can’t beat the battle for cuteness between a hampster and a gerbil. There is a bunny story, Picasso the horse, a silly snake, a grizzlie bear a supersonic tortoise, a furping goldfish and my favourite the burgling budgie which has a Dickensian theme to it. Loved Magwitch the one eyed magpie.

Adam Stower with his coloured illustrations enhances the characters and the humour.

You can’t go wrong with this novel for kids and I am hoping that David will come up with a book about the Worlds worst politicians. There are plenty in the World today.

The Bookworm by Debi Gliori

August 22, 2019 Comments off

bookwormThe Bookworm by Debi Gliori. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2019.

Three of my favourite things about picture books – pets, imagination and reading, are covered in this delightful creation by Debi Gliori.

Max wants a pet but his parents are reticent. There is a baby in the house that does all the less likeable things that pets do. Max is persistent and settles on a worm but his is a special worm, not just a book worm but something from the soul of childhood imagination – a dragon.

Excellent illustrations with a simple easy to read text. The ideal book for juniors and pre schoolers.

Saying Goodbye to Barkley by Devon Sillett, illus. Nicky Johnston.

May 9, 2019 Comments off

barkleySaying Goodbye to Barkley by Devon Sillett, illus. Nicky Johnston. Pub. Exisle Publishing, 2019.

Olivia and her dog Barkley were inseparable. They did everything together, but Barkley grew old and died. Death is a part of life and it is right and proper that children learn this, and learn to cope with it.

Barkley was a great friend to Olivia and she misses him but her parents want to help her to move on and they buy her another dog. He is not like Barkley. Olivia must get used to the fact that Spud the new dog is entirely different but he is a lovable lump.

Ideal for discussions about grief and death with junior students.

The text is simple and powerful and the illustrations capture the personalities of the dogs, Olivia and the situation. A pleasing story.

Categories: Picture book Tags: , ,

The Dog Who Lost His Bark by Eoin Colfer, Illus. P,J. Lynch.

October 28, 2018 Comments off

lost barkThe Dog Who Lost His Bark by Eoin Colfer, Illus. P,J. Lynch. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

Many people would be glad to have a dog that didn’t bark but not the dog in this story. This dog has been badly mistreated as a puppy and has lost his confidence in humans and in life, so much so that he cannot bark.

Then he is saved by Patrick a boy who calls the dog Oz. Patrick is a boy who has problems of his own. Patrick and his mom go to stay with his granddad while his father is touring Australia with a band. But is this the only reason he is away?

Patrick is going to find out soon enough that parents are not always honest with their children and Oz is going to learn that not all humans are bad. Will he get his bark back? There is a music connection in the story that is just wonderful.

Great read-a-loud for children 5-10 years and a good read for newly confident readers.

The illustrations are superb brilliantly capturing the predicament of the dog and the emotional problems of Patrick and his mom. The granddad is excellent. You will love it.

Baby’s First Bank Heist by Jim Whalley, illus. Stephen Collins.

July 12, 2018 Comments off

baby bank heistBaby’s First Bank Heist by Jim Whalley, illus. Stephen Collins. Pub. Bloomsberry, 2018.

This picture book is as daft as a brush and I suspect that is one of the reactions the authors want.

Mum and dad take baby for a walk in the park. Baby is suitably dressed in a black and white striped romper suit as though his parents suspected his future actions.

Baby wants a pet, any pet, but parents are aghast at the idea. Baby plots. A visit to the bank gets his imagination flowing and he robs the bank as only a baby can. Following the signs to the cash he bypasses all the alarms, stuffs his romper suit full of money and slinks away like a weasel up a drainpipe.

At home he scans the Net and purchases an array of animals and secrets them throughout his house. Parents don’t get onto it until they discover a rather laconic rhino in the garage. What will they do? read it and find out.

Very witty rhyming text which is always good for language development and illustrations  in watercolours and ink drawings, that tell their own story and enhance the written text.

A perfect combination that produces the type of craziness that kids love. A good read-a-loud as well.

Mango the Arrowtown School cat by Wendy Clarke, illus. by the children of Arrowtown school

May 2, 2018 Comments off

mangoMango the Arrowtown School cat by Wendy Clarke, illus. by the children of Arrowtown school. Pub. Wendy Clarke of Arrowtown school.

The children of Arrowtown school and their teachers are very proud of Mango the big ginger cat who visits them every day. He can be found in the library, in the sick bay, in the play ground and anywhere he is comfortable.

Tom is having his first day at Arrowtown school and he is a bit scared. With help of Ginnie, “a girl with lots of plaits and a big wide smile”, and Mango, Tom soon relaxes and enjoys school.

While Wendy Clarke wrote this story it is the children who illustrate the book and it is beautifully done. Mango is drawn and coloured in, fourteen times and we have portraits of Tom and Ginnie and the conniving Mrs Blunt who seems to want Mango all to herself.

A splendid way to get children into reading and to learn the power and necessity for books. The illustrations are a treat and a great way to learn to respect animals and how pets can give nourishment to the school environment.

Categories: Junior Fiction, Picture book Tags: ,

My Dog Mouse by Eva Lindstrom.

April 20, 2017 Comments off

my dog mouseMy Dog Mouse by Eva Lindstrom. Pub. Gecko Press, 2017.

If you have ever been able to count the number of teeth in a dogs mouth while it yawns then you are probably dealing with an old dog. Mouse is an old dog with thin droopy ears who is a little over weight and moves real slow.

The little girl with the androgynous hairstyle loves the old dog and always asks the owner if she can take him for a walk.

Wearing her flared green dress with black tights and her back pack she takes Mouse for a walk around the block, through the park, right turn and home again.

They both love it and are clearly comfortable together. This is the way it should be.

I wish Mouse was mine” the little girl says after dropping him off. The last page will put a lump in your throat. Don’t miss this one. Great for studying ¬†pets and reading aloud to juniors.

The illustrations are laid back. Easy autumnal water colours accompanied with pencil etchings. The illustrations also make social commentary – the supermarket trolley left behind, the cigarette butts on the ground outside for smokers.

Superb publication.

The Lost Kitten by Lee. illus. Koma Sakai

January 30, 2017 Comments off

lost-kittenThe Lost Kitten by Lee. illus. Koma Sakai. Pub. Gecko Press, 2017.

Very impressive picture book that begins with this line “When Hina and her mother opened the door, there was a skinny, scruffy kitten”. Makes you want to read it doesn’t it, well it did me.

A good first line sets up a book but the illustration on the opposite page nails it. Mother and daughter stare out at a sickly looking cat while mother cat and sibling look on. Watercolour picture in grays, browns, whites and shades of blue portray a moving yet sad scene.

Mother cat knows her kitten is unwell and needs human care to recover. The mother cat’s head bobs as if saying “please look after my baby” .

I am not going to tell you any more , read it for yourself it is brilliant. There is drama that the kitten may be lost and tears of joy as it recovers. Illustrations throughout are outstanding.

Juniors will love it read to them and new and confident readers will love to read it.