Fifty years after the publication of Robert the Rose Horse comes Joan Heilbroner's second Beginner Book—A Pet Named Sneaker, with illustrations by Pascal Lemaitre. A madcap tale reminiscent of The Cat in the Hat, Go, Dog. Go!, and A Fish Out of Water,Sneaker is the story of a pet-store snake who longs for a real home. When he is finally adopted by Pete—a young boy charmed by Sneaker's uncanny ability to twist himself into different shapes—Sneaker not only proves himself a good pet, but proves to ...
Fifty years after the publication of Robert the Rose Horse comes Joan Heilbroner's second Beginner Book—A Pet Named Sneaker, with illustrations by Pascal Lemaitre. A madcap tale reminiscent of The Cat in the Hat, Go, Dog. Go!, and A Fish Out of Water,Sneaker is the story of a pet-store snake who longs for a real home. When he is finally adopted by Pete—a young boy charmed by Sneaker's uncanny ability to twist himself into different shapes—Sneaker not only proves himself a good pet, but proves to be a good student (sneaking into school with Pete and learning to read and write); a good citizen (saving a drowing toddler at a community pool); and a goodwill ambassador for the entire animal kingdom (inspiring the community to open the pool to all animals)! With delightfully understated, wickedly funny illustrations by Pascal Lemaitre, this is a fantastic, funny book that will sneakily get beginning readers reading on their own!
Originally created by Dr. Seuss, Beginner Books encourage children to read all by themselves, with simple words and illustrations that give clues to their meaning.
PreS-Gr 1—Sneaker lives in a pet store and can't seem to find a home no matter how many visitors stop by. Apparently, no one wants to buy a snake, until a boy named Pete takes him home and plays with him and shares snacks and surprises. When Pete goes to school, Sneaker sneaks into his backpack and tags along. He's a big hit with the kids and proves to be a good student, going back day after day. As summer approaches, Pete takes his pet to the local pool where he ends up saving a little boy from drowning. Sneaker soon becomes a local hero and also gets a new career as the pool lifeguard. The vivid drawings and clear cartoon illustrations provide beginning readers with picture clues to help decode the story. A winning addition for most easy-reader collections.—Melissa Smith, Royal Oak Public Library, MI
Sneaker is a sad pet shop snake until bright-eyed, freckle-faced Pete adopts him. “Sneaker liked his new home,” writes Heilbroner (Robert the Rose Horse), as Lemaitre (Artist Ted) shows the new BFFs making the most of Pete’s imagination and Sneaker’s slithery gifts: “He had fun with Pete. He played I Am a Necktie, I am a Hat, and I Am Handcuffs.” From there, it’s one sweet, goofy thing after another, with the sunny, color-saturated drawings driving the action of Heilbroner’s first book in 20 years. Sneaker wins over Pete’s squeamish classmates and learns to read and write his name (his penmanship is impressive considering he holds the pencil in his tail). By the end of the story, Sneaker has even found meaningful work as a lifeguard at a local pool—proof positive that nice snakes finish first. Told with easygoing assurance, marvelous economy, and goodhearted humor by two pros, this Beginner Book should sneak its way into the heart of early readers. Or as Sneaker would say, “Yesssssssssssssssssss!” Ages 5–8. Agent: Julie Just, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. Illustrator’s agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 12, 2012: “Told with easygoing assurance, marvelous economy, and goodhearted humor by two pros, this Beginner Book should sneak its way into the heart of early readers.”
- Nancy Garhan Attebury
Sneaker the Snake wants a home and a little boy named Pete wants a pet, so Pete buys Sneaker and they play games and have fun. However, Sneaker does not want to stay home when Pete goes to school so Sneaker sneaks into Pete's backpack and heads to school. He is discovered and soon all the kids in Pete's class love Sneaker. Sneaker is so smart he learns how to read. During summer break, Sneaker follows Pete to the swimming pool and reads the sign that says "No Pets." While Sneaker waits for Pete, a baby falls into the pool and Sneaker is the only one to see him. Sneaker bravely slithers into the water and saves the little baby. Everyone is so happy that Sneaker is made an assistant to the Lifeguard and the "No Pets" sign goes down. This delightful book is filled with fun and easy-to-read one-syllable words and words with blends. The illustrations are kid-friendly and match the text closely to help readers with comprehension. This book is one of the "I Can Read It All By Myself" beginner books series. Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury
Sneaker the snake proves himself a lovable pet in this beginning reader. Initially, Sneaker languishes in the pet store while other animals leave with new owners. When Pete purchases Sneaker, the pair enjoy each other's company in a series of vignettes that mark the strongest point in the story. "He had fun with Pete. He played I Am a Necktie, I Am a Hat, and I Am Handcuffs," reads the controlled text, which is accompanied by pictures of Sneaker contorting himself into the various items. When Pete goes to school, Sneaker hides in his backpack and ends up starring as the boy's offering during show and tell. At first, Pete's classmates are leery, but then "a brave girl" picks Sneaker up, and he's suddenly a hit. Then, in an abrupt shift perhaps better suited to a separate book, Pete and Sneaker visit a pool. Sneaker is not welcomed there, either, since a sign reading "NO PETS" bars him from swimming, but all's well that ends well when Sneaker rescues a child who falls into the pool. The lifeguard asks Sneaker to be his "helper," and a closing scene shows the snake serving as lifeguard to a pool filled with pets of all stripes. Throughout, cartoonish illustrations reminiscent of Syd Hoff's beginning-reader artwork reinforce the text, providing context clues and humor. A worthy title for new readers. (Early reader. 5-7)
JOAN HEILBRONER is best known for her first book, Robert the Rose Horse, which was published in 1961. Acquired by Dr. Seuss when he was editor of Beginner Books, it has been in print for over 50 years. Her inspiration to write A Pet Named Sneaker came from her grandchildren, Quentin and Katrina, and their talented pet snake Plato. A graduate of Columbia University, Ms. Heilbroner worked as a school librarian until her retirement.
PASCAL LEMAITRE is the illustrator of numerous books for young people, and his editorial work appears regularly in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Time, and Print. He spends half the year in Brussels, where he teaches at Le Cambre, and half the year in Brooklyn, New York.