The House of a Million Pets

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Overview

Ann Hodgman’s basement is home to three guinea pigs, a cage full of birds, a big gray rabbit, a prairie dog, a bulbul (look it up), two little rabbits, a hamster, and twenty-six pygmy mice. And that’s just the basement.Would your parents ever let you have that many pets at once?

If Ann Hodgman were your parents, she’d let you.

Here is the true story of what it’s like to live in her barnyard—er, house—with more...

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Overview

Ann Hodgman’s basement is home to three guinea pigs, a cage full of birds, a big gray rabbit, a prairie dog, a bulbul (look it up), two little rabbits, a hamster, and twenty-six pygmy mice. And that’s just the basement.Would your parents ever let you have that many pets at once?

If Ann Hodgman were your parents, she’d let you.

Here is the true story of what it’s like to live in her barnyard—er, house—with more animals than you’ll be able to keep track of.

 

Any kid (or adult) who has ever owned or wanted a pet will love these furry, feathered, slimy, and scaly stories.

 

The House of a Million Pets is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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Editorial Reviews

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."

Children's Literature

 

"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
Publishers Weekly

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 animal—exotic and domestic—imaginable. 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 forewarned—there 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

Gr 3-6
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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805079746
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 9/4/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 870L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.17 (w) x 8.17 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

ANN HODGMAN is the author of many books for children, but this is the first one she has written about her own life and her own pets. She lives in Washington, Connecticut.

EUGENE YELCHIN studied art and theater design at the Leningrad Institute of Theater Arts. He lives in California.

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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 claws—very thick, strong talons for such a small guy—curled tightly around my finger. I tried the other foot—same 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?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    Great for animal lovers of all ages

    I bought this book for my 4th grade son, an animal lover but a reluctant reader, and he loved it--read it every day at school, and told me many times about his new favorite part of the book. I read it, too, and it's fun--the author is charming and kooky, and the book is full of funny scenes. It's not a linear story, so you can read a chapter here and a chapter there, and not lose the story line. It would be good for reading aloud.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2012

    My daughters love this book!!!!!!

    Both my 10yr daughters love this book. Especially one of my daughters who got it last year and now the other loves it too. It teaches them about animals as pets in a sort of realistic, funny, common-sense way. One of my daughters considers it her FAVORITE book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2010

    Awesome!!!!!!!!!!

    This nonfiction book had be laughing from bigining to end. I could not put it down!!!!!!!! This is my favorite book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Feed me!!!!!!Clean My cage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    this is a very educational story on how too keep care of animals.She also includes her personal problems with the animals into the story and how she
    took care of those problems...Wait and see what those are!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2008

    A reviewer

    Two of my friends reccomended this to me. It was one book I couldn't put down.I reccomend this to 4 graders through 6 graders.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 15, 2009

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    Posted August 13, 2009

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    Posted April 8, 2010

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    Posted October 7, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2008

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