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The Tarantula in My Purse and 172 Other Wild Pets

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  • Posted January 6, 2011

    great book for animal loving children

    Do your kids, or did you when you were a child, like to bring home wild animals as pets? When I was growing up, we lived in the country. My brother was an animal lover and, in addition to the requisite tame pets such as cats, dogs, fish, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, and a few white mice along the way (my mother tolerated white mice; it was the common gray and brown variety that she could not stand, and she would never abide rats of any color), we had various turtles; a garter snake which escaped from its aquarium much to my mother's deep chagrin; several baby ducks whose parents were stupid enough to hatch them in the middle of winter when it was way below freezing; and the young opossum who also escaped from its aquarium and ate the baby ducks, except for the beaks and feet. Twig, Craig, and Luke George also brought home wild pets. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), they just happened to be the children of famous naturalist and author Jean Craighead George.
    The Tarantula in My Purse chronicles, with both humor and sympathy, the wild animals which the George children brought home and kept as pets as they were growing up, most of which were in the days before there were as many laws against the practice as there are today. These pets included a screech owl, ducklings, a goose, several crows, a raccoon, a kestrel, a robin, a chickadee, a boa constrictor, white mice, a skunk, a box turtle, a bat, a magpie, and, of course, the tarantula that Mrs. George brought home in her purse, among others. Parents might want to know that there are a couple of very brief references to the fact that Jean and her husband John George divorced when the children were still young; the euphemistic word "darned" (not as in socks but as in "I'll be.") is found a couple of times; and one mention is made that box turtles have survived for hundreds of thousands of years. However, one thing I liked is that while Mrs. George is definitely a conservationist who promotes the protection of animals, she taught her children that "people come first." A delightfully charming book, it ends with the George children's growing up, going to college, and having children of their own who carry on the family tradition.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2002

    fifth grade reading group - MMK

    This book writen by Jean Craighead George is an autobiography that includes stories about animals.In this book her kids bring home different animals and take care of them.Sometimes they take them home because the animals are hurt.It also includes funny stories.It is very funny and exciting.It shows kids how they can bond with pets of all kinds.

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