This story of the West Side Kids unrolls with De Vonn, the narrator, desiring a "roly-poly pup who will eat dog food on pumpernickel bread" but his Mama's response "Your sister is allergic to dogs!" puts a damper on his wish. But Mike, Katie, and Luz work to convince their parents that they are potentially responsible pet owners. The story's crisis and solution concern Lassie, a pumpkin colored cat residing in an apartment on another floor that De Vonn pet-sits. The text unobtrusively informs readers of the Kids ethnicity and economic levels typical of inner-city apartment living. The realism of family and neighborhood interaction will reinforce a young reader's positive development. The West Side Kids are engaging and useful juvenile role models.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4Two adventures in a series about a group of young friends who live in a city. In Friends, Katie is new to the neighborhood but soon meets Luz who teaches her to rollerblade. The two spend most of the story getting to know one another and exploring. When the friendly doorman at Katie's building is fired, the girls help to save his job. In Pet-Sitters, the West Side Kids decide they would all like pets but realize that living in an apartment building makes it almost impossible. They come up with the next best thingpet-sitting. The children have their work cut out for them as they deal with issues such as finding clients, missing pets, and a fear of walking into a strange apartment alone. They persevere and collaboratively solve all of the problems that pop up in their business venture. Appealing black-and-white sketches appear throughout both books. Realistic characters and situations make these selections enjoyable for beginning chapter-book enthusiasts.Cheryl Cufari, Glencliff Elementary School, Niskayuna, NY