This is a must read for anyone considering an iguana, snake or turtle as a pet. While these animals are quite fascinating to watch, they are not pets in the traditional sense of the word. Unlike domesticated animals (cats or dogs), these reptiles require very special care, beginning with an environment in your home that should resemble the natural habitat. Reptiles can also infect humans with salmonella, a very real and harmful bacterial infection. Each animal is given its own chapter delineating how to handle the animal, its food requirements, type of enclosure, exercise, heating/lighting and what to expect with its growth/life cycle. While cartoon-like color illustrations abound, the text conveys the seriousness of the responsibility necessary to maintain a reptile as a pet. Actual photographs of these fine animals would be a welcome addition. The book includes web addresses, bibliography and an index. 2001, Millbrook Press, $22.90. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Mary Sue Preissner
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Owning a pet means responsibility, and these clear, lively books address that issue. Both stress learning about animal behavior in order to provide pets with the best care possible. Adopting Pets discusses animal shelters. Its focus is on helping animals, mainly by giving them a good home. Readers are advised to think carefully about which pet is best suited for a particular situation (e.g., cats adapt better to being left alone for longer periods of time) and to be a responsible owner by spaying/neutering their animals. Advice is also included for children who want to help, but can't adopt-volunteers are generally accepted at shelters. Iguana provides more detailed information, with advice and tips on caring for reptiles. There is a lot of how-to here, but there's an equal amount of why (insight into behavior) to help readers understand and enjoy their pets. The discussion is also well balanced; for example, while Gutman discusses how fascinating it can be to keep reptiles, he also notes that they're not right for everyone. Each title features humorous full-color cartoon drawings that add to its appeal. Children will enjoy the entertaining texts and pictures and will come away with much of what they need to know to become informed and responsible pet owners. These books will not replace pet-care manuals, but they will be good supplements.-Arwen Marshall, formerly at New York Public Library Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.