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Perfect Pet

( 1 )


Elizabeth really, really, wants a pet. But her parents do not. Instead they give her a cactus. Even though Elizabeth's new plant proves to be a good listener, Elizabeth still really wants a pet. When Elizabeth campaigns to find the right pet, her family imagines some hair-raising possibilities, until Doug comes along—who is, without a doubt, the most unusual, perfect pet of all.

After Elizabeth's parents do not agree with her various suggestions for the perfect pet,...

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Elizabeth really, really, wants a pet. But her parents do not. Instead they give her a cactus. Even though Elizabeth's new plant proves to be a good listener, Elizabeth still really wants a pet. When Elizabeth campaigns to find the right pet, her family imagines some hair-raising possibilities, until Doug comes along—who is, without a doubt, the most unusual, perfect pet of all.

After Elizabeth's parents do not agree with her various suggestions for the perfect pet, she discovers a solution.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Although Elizabeth "really, really, really" wants a pet, her parents definitely do not. When they offer her a cactus, she tries many other tactics to persuade them. The series of maneuvers she devises, from shocking them to catching them off guard with suggestions and arguments, do not work. But then, she finds the perfect pet: a bug named Doug. Not only does he have none of the problems that worried her parents, but he has other advantages. Unfortunately, her mother screams upon seeing him. Elizabeth manages to persuade her parents of his good qualities, but they are still dubious at the end. To support the humor of the situation, Whatley's naturalistic illustrations offer imaginative double-page visions of life with each suggested pet, all frantic and funny. He also fills in the odd moments when Elizabeth chooses to introduce a new suggestion, for example when she sits on her parents' chests in the middle of the night and shines a flashlight in their eyes. She is a delightful heroine with whom readers can sympathize and easily identify. 2003, HarperCollins Publishers,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Palatini adds her own brand of offbeat humor and an unexpected ending to the traditional story of a child trying to convince her parents that she should have a pet. Elizabeth accepts the substitute cactus plant ("-it had quite a prickly sense of humor") and even names it, but she doesn't give up, surprising her parents in bed, in the bathroom ("Catch Them Off Guard"), and at the dinner table. While she enumerates the advantages of each animal, requesting everything from a horse to a rat, her parents counter with the negatives. Finally, the child finds her own solution. She adopts a bug, names him Doug, and provides him with a perfect habitat, good food, and companionship. He is the perfect pet, and Elizabeth loves him for his differences and individuality. Mother, on the other hand, is not happy with the idea. There is a happy ending, though, as Doug joins the family on the couch with a bowl of popcorn. The finely crafted illustrations in both delicate pastel shades and bright colors combine realistic pictures of animals and people with cartoon elements and an engaging little bug. For storytimes, combine this winner with Liesel Moak Skorpen's All the Lassies (Dial, 1970; o.p.) and Judith Viorst's poem "Mother Doesn't Want a Dog." Good for individual or group sharing.-Marlene Gawron, formerly at Orange County Library, Orlando, FL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Elizabeth must pull out all the stops to convince Mother and Father to trade in Carolyn, her cactus, for a real pet. Elizabeth's various methods of persuasion-using the element of surprise, catching them off guard, and going for broke-all prove futile, eliciting only a standard response of "Huh? What? Who?" from her parents. Luckily, Elizabeth stumbles on to the ideal pet, a bug she promptly adopts and names Doug. Everyone agrees that Doug is the perfect pet-even Mother and Father concede that Doug is better than a dog because they "have more room on the couch." Palatini (Earthquack!, 2002, etc.) is once again exercising her masterful grip on picture-book humor; she makes funny look easy. Whatley's illustrations, which are strikingly reminiscent of Norman Rockwell's work and are in the style of his earlier Wait No Paint (2001), will also produce chuckles, as white backgrounds draw focus to the comical expressions of shock and confusion sported by Elizabeth's parents. While this work is accessible to very young readers by virtue of Palatini's easy-to-manage format-with subtle repetition in the narrative and subtitles-it's wordy enough, and has enough substance, to get a laugh out of the easy-book crowd. And Elizabeth's antics are sure to strike a funny bone. (Picture book. 3-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060001100
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/27/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 67,013
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD210L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Margie Palatini

Margie Palatini is the author of many outrageously funny books for children, including Piggie Pie!, illustrated by Howard Fine; Moosetache, Mooseltoe, and the Bad Boys series, all illustrated by Henry Cole; The Cheese, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher; No Biting, Louise, illustrated by Matthew Reinhart; and Gorgonzola, illustrated by Tim Bowers. She lives with her family in New Jersey.

Bruce Whatley  is one of Australia's most highly regarded and talented authors and illustrators for children, both here and internationally. Bruce started his working life in advertising as an art director and illustrator and since then he has created over 60 picture books.  Many of his books have won awards both in Australia and overseas, including The Ugliest Dog in the World, Looking for Crabs, Tails from Grandad’s Attic and Detective Donut and the Wild Goose Chase

Bruce has co-written a number of award-winning books with his wife Rosie Smith (Whatley’s Quest, Detective Donut and the Wild Goose Chase and Little White Dogs Can’t Jump) and his son Ben Smith Whatley (Zoobots).

In 2002 Bruce paired with author Jackie French and illustrated Diary of a Wombat – an iconic picture book that has become an international best-seller with foreign sales to nine territories.  Diary of Wombat was the start of an extraordinary artistic collaboration that sparked the publication of Pete the Sheep, Josephine Wants to Dance, Shaggy Gully Times, Baby Wombat’s Week, Christmas Wombat and Wombat Goes to School. Plus two delightful books about Queen Victoria, being Queen Victoria’s Underpants and Queen Victoria’s Christmas.

 One of the most remarkable aspects of Bruce’s talent is the breadth of his artistic ability, which includes an appealing cartoon style to realistic representations using mediums ranging from coloured pencils, watercolour, acrylic and oils, and more recently, 3D digital software. 

And accompanying that talent is an intellectual depth and curiosity that sees Bruce taking on large and complex projects, such as The Beach They Called Gallipoli, which is being co-created with Jackie French and will be published in 2014 to coincide with the centenary of WW1.

In 2008 Bruce completed his PhD titled Left Hand Right Hand: implications of ambidextrous image making. In his thesis Bruce looked at the image making of the non-dominant hand, making the fascinating discovery that in most people the ability to draw lies in the use of the ‘other’ hand.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2008


    I highly recommend this delightful, beautifully illustrated childrens book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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