This soon-to-be classic is right up there with Anne Mazer's The Salamander Room (1991, but still in print), which also tweaks kids' hearts while teaching them about the things pets really need. — Elizabeth Ward
Everything seems ducky for rodent best friends Brian and Bob, who spend their days in Pete's Pet Palace, "doing what guinea pigs do best-eating, sleeping, and playing I Spy." Ripper (Little Brown Bushrat) mirrors the simple pleasures of their lives in her streamlined rendering of their bodies: shorthaired Brian is little more than a bottom-heavy ovoid with two dots for eyes, while Bob's "long, tufty" fur is evident only in the way it shoots past the ink outlines of his plump body to form little peaks. Then Bob is adopted, and Brian falls into despair-until he's adopted by what turns out to be the very same family: "By that evening sitting together in their cage playing I Spy, the two little guinea pigs had almost forgotten they had ever been apart." Ripper's unadorned prose and pared-down watercolor compositions eloquently describe the joy of close friendship and the sorrow that comes from its loss. Ages 2-5. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Brian and Bob are two guinea pigs who live happily in a big cage at Pete's Pet Palace. Every day, they eat, sleep and play "I Spy" together. Then, one day, a little boy comes into the pet shop and chooses Bob as his pet. Brian misses Bob terribly until an older man comes into the store and buys Brian. As it turns out, the man is the grandfather of the boy who chose Bob, so the two guinea pigs are re-united. They resume their friendship and their life together. Young children are often very interested in animals and easily form bonds with them. It is also a time when children are developing their first friendships. Therefore, this heart-warming story of animal friendship will be a delightful addition to classrooms for preschool and early elementary children. This is one of two children's books that Ripper has illustrated. Her soft watercolor pictures enhance the tenderness of the text. 2003, Hyperion Books for Children, Ages 3 to 7.
— Kathy Egner, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Best friends Brian and Bob live in a pet store. They spend their time eating, sleeping, and playing I Spy. Then Bob is adopted by a little boy, and Brian is miserable. He pines away until he, too, is adopted, this time by a kind old man who presents his grandson with a new guinea pig, and Brian and Bob are reunited. The happy resolution brings satisfaction to all. Charming, whimsical illustrations in pen and watercolor capture the emotions of the two small, lifelike animals. Children will readily empathize with the characters and their situation.-Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
An improbable tale, but a happily-ever-after one, so young readers will suspend their disbelief as they pull for the reunion of Ripper’s guinea pig protagonists. Narrative and story architecture aren’t Ripper’s strong suits--left to them alone, she’d be wise to fold her hand--but she trumps readers with her winsome artwork: it’s not easy to convincingly make a guinea pig scowl or to cross its arms in a huff, but it’s visual magic when it works, and Ripper does it with aplomb. Here, Brian and Bob are two happy guinea pig chums who share a cage in a pet shop. Comes the day that Bob gets hauled off to a new home and Brian becomes miserable. Through a series of unlikely if innocuous circumstances, he finds himself back in Bob’s cage-side company. Then they get back to doing what they do best: snoozing, hanging out at the food bowl, and looking around--la dolce vita. (Picture book. 2-5)