Why do birds eat pebbles? What's the best home for a fish? Can an animal have a pet? Why do hamsters have such big cheeks? If any of these questions has ever posed itself to you or your child, here is the book for you. Forty of these kinds of questions, simple and well-illustrated answers, and brief "Notes to the Parent" about each constitute this informative and kid-friendly book from the editors of Time-Life Publications. Browsers, pet owners, animal enthusiasts, and future veterinarians will find much to read, reread, and ponder here. Part of the "Child's First Library of Learning" series. Other volumes in the series include People, Health and Safety, Dangerous Animals, and Explorers and Adventurers. Also available in Spanish.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4A look at the behavior and characteristics of pets. Presented in a question-and-answer format, the topics range from general inquiries ("How do animals sleep?") to questions about specific kinds of pets ("How do dogs help people?"). Unfortunately, the brief and clearly presented answers and related text are accompanied by often-amateurish cartoon drawings that do little to enhance the book's appeal. The animals are awkwardly sketched, and often are not drawn to scale. For instance, an illustration of various breeds of dogs shows a whippet and an Old English sheep dog to be roughly the same size. Even if the illustrations could be overlooked, the real problem here is in determining a target audience. Because of the brevity of the answers and the lack of an index or bibliography, the book has little value as a reference resource. A "To the Parent" box on each page provides a bit more information. A game and puzzle section is appended apparently in an attempt to reinforce some of the material provided, but it is a pointless addition. This title may be of limited interest to pet-loving browsers, but anyone looking for in-depth information will be much better served by any one of the quality pet books already available.Arwen Marshall, New York Public Library