________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 18 . . . . May 10, 2002

cover The Perfect Pet.

Carol Chataway. Illustrated by Greg Holfeld.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2002.
24 pp., cloth, $14.95.
ISBN 1-55337-178-X.

Subject Heading:
Pets-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Ian Stewart.

**** /4

excerpt: image

Hamlet, Pygmalion and Podge wanted a dog more than anything else in the world. More than ice cream, more than chocolate. Even more than wallowing in mud on a hot summer's day.

Here is a story of three little pigs. Most of us will remember them from another adventure, the one in which they had issues with house construction and a wolf. The dilemma in which our porcine friends find themselves involved in this delightful book is not life threatening, however, like an encounter with a big, bad, famished canis lupus. However, it is an important life-lesson. They want a perfect pet, but finding a dog that meets all their needs proves to be quite a predicament. One wanted a patient dog, the other a playful dog, and the third a dog to cuddle-up with at night. Although there are lots of breeds of dogs at the pet shop, none have the characteristics that can satisfy Hamlet, Pygmalion, and Podge. It all dissolves into a big mess, many trips to the pet store to return dogs, and, as always, tears. Can they find a solution? Of course! By putting their heads together to discover what they really wanted in a pet and what they didn't want, and by engaging in a little give and take, they were able to come to a compromise and meet all their needs. They got a cat and it was purrfect for them.

     Perfect Pet has many possibilities. It could be a nice starting point for beginning a project on pets and pet care, along with recognizing that pets are not to be purchased on a whim and then casually discarded if they become somehow inconvenient or imperfect. This is also an excellent book to activate a discussion on problem solving strategies for early years students. Young children should (?) begin to understand that talking through issues, being willing to listen to others, and attempting to find a middle ground might offer a better and more practical solution than determined single-mindedness.

Highly recommended.

Ian Stewart is an early years teacher in Winnipeg. He wants all teachers to remind their students that "pets are for life" and to support their local animal shelters.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364