From the Publisher
“Hodgman may not have had a dragon like Hagrid, but her tales are equally engaging, truthful and funny to readers of all ages. She's a James Herriot for the 21st century.” Kirkus Reviews
“Through careful observation [Hodgman's] able to create a distinct personality for most of her pets, and Eugene Yelchin's black-and-white illustrations add a note of whimsy.... By the end of the book, you realize Hodgman is one Crazy Pet Lady. 'Good' crazy, though.” The New York Times
“This humorous animal memoir will jump right off the shelves.” School Library Journal
“This amusing ... memoir will have readers wishing they lived near Hodgman so they could drop in and meet who's new.” School Library Journal
“Hodgman goes way beyond the standard pet story.” Booklist
J. D. Biersdorfer
There's not a lot of actual chatter back and forth between Hodgman and the nonhuman inhabitants of her Doctor Dolittle-like domicile, but through careful observation she's able to create a distinct personality for most of her pets, and Eugene Yelchin's black-and-white illustrations add a note of whimsy. Using a sassy, almost conspiratorial tone ("Carrying a rat on your shoulder is especially fun because it bothers other people"), Hodgman is very straightforward about life with so many dependents from the wild kingdom. It's the good, the bad and the messy in this book.
The New York Times
Animal lover Hodgman ushers readers into her basement "barnyard," home to finches and canaries, three guinea pigs, a large three-legged rabbit and two smaller bunnies (one of whom growls), a prairie dog, a hamster and 26 pygmy mice. Also in residence are two miniature dachshunds (one's breath "smells like thousands of dead lobsters") and three cats. After introducing her menagerie, the author offers a hodgepodge of anecdotes about past and present pets, plus tips on caring for an assortment of animals. Some of the information shows a light touch: she lists the "worst things my dogs have eaten" (including a boxed, wrapped and hidden handmade Christmas ornament; underpants; and the head of a dead mouse), discusses names her pets have been given (relatives object to her daughter's naming a hamster Mary) and offers tongue-in-cheek directions for cutting a rabbit's nails "in thirteen impossible steps." But only hardcore enthusiasts will be interested in the author's details of cleaning out her mice's cage and ailments of various pets and their treatments by the vet. Those who do share Hodgman's devotion to animals, however, will be swept up by her breezy style ("Ducks do not belong inside a house. Most people probably know this already. But it took me six ducklings' worth of training before I learned it myself"); for these readers, the book will be a ticket to, er, hog heaven. Ages 8-up. (Sept.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Augusta Scattergood
This humorous animal memoir will jump right off the shelves. To begin with, there is the cover. Children will be drawn to the hilarious illustration of a house with cat feet and tails, set off against a bright yellow background, and then there is the story. Ann Hodgman is just the kind of teacher or parent any animal-loving child dreams of having. Her house overflows with every kind of animalexotic and domesticimaginable. Not only does she nurture babies without parents, she does not seem to turn away any homeless animal. Finches, owls, woodchucks, ordinary house cats, rats, and guinea pigs have all lived in Hodgman's house; however, parents will be glad to know that she makes a very strong case for not raising animals in your home that are not truly meant to be pets. This book will make a terrific read-aloud. Be forewarnedthere is a description of what it is like to euthanize a pet, told very matter-of-factly, with emphasis on how sad you feel when you lose a beloved animal. In addition to writing about her huge menagerie of animals, the author teaches responsible pet ownership on every page. Tips for raising some of her more unusual pets will help the young reader persuasive enough to convince a parent that she really must have that white-capped bulbul. Reviewer: Augusta Scattergood
School Library Journal
A pleasant personal narrative of the many animals (some with personalities, some without) revolving through Hodgman's door and life over the years. From nocturnal pygmy mice to a crotchety cat named Creamsicle to a bedraggled bulbul (an exotic bird), a procession of pets patters through the author's mind and into the book. Advice on the care and fostering of critters from baby owls to cecropia moths is scattered throughout, as are nuggets on topics such as "The Worst Things My Dogs Have Eaten." The chatty text speaks directly to readers, inviting them to be part of the total experience, even when the going gets gross. Small, soft black-and-white illustrations decorate the pages, certain to prompt pet-craving urges in some (though the author emphasizes owner responsibility and suggests doing research before taking the plunge). Falling somewhere between the sincerity of Sterling North's classic Rascal (Puffin, 1990) and Farley Mowat's hilarious Owls in the Family (Yearling, 1996), this amusing (despite the inevitable tragedies) memoir will have readers wishing they lived near Hodgman so they could drop in and meet who's new.
Patricia ManningCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
I put the owl into a cardboard box and brought him into the kitchen. Then the kids and I bent over to look at him more closely.
If a bird can't "clench" its toes, that often means its leg or its back are broken. To test the owl's reflexes, I stuck my finger under his foot. To my surprise, his clawsvery thick, strong talons for such a small guycurled tightly around my finger. I tried the other footsame thing. Encouraged, I stretched out each of his wings, which still had their baby feathers. Pecky tucked them back neatly against his sides as soon as I let go. So his wings were okay, too.
I scratched the top of his head a little, and he opened his eyes and stared up at me. His eyes were round and yellow and blind-looking. He blinked a few times. Then he clumsily struggled to his feet.
What was I supposed to do now?