The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses

Overview

Embark on a methodical, meticulous, and hilarious quest for the perfect pet in this wickedly witty cautionary collection of pet poems.

If you’re the type that oohs and aahs
at furry faces, precious paws,
the words ahead may be alarming:
Animals aren’t always charming.

If you think you’d like a cute and cuddly pet, you may need to do some ...

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Overview

Embark on a methodical, meticulous, and hilarious quest for the perfect pet in this wickedly witty cautionary collection of pet poems.

If you’re the type that oohs and aahs
at furry faces, precious paws,
the words ahead may be alarming:
Animals aren’t always charming.

If you think you’d like a cute and cuddly pet, you may need to do some research. Formulate a query. Devise a scientific plan. And be sure to write down every observation of the animals you encounter. Join one budding young scientist as she catalogs the pros and pitfalls of potential pet ownership in this assortment of zany and relatable poems that will change the way you look at cuddly animals—and give you the giggles.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When a bespectacled girl with pigtails asks her parents for a pet, they suggest she take a scientific approach, researching potential animals. The girl’s investigations take her to the farm, zoo, woods, and more, but the results are not encouraging. A monkey’s “fur is full of bugs and lice/ He flings his poo—His aim’s precise.” Rabbits are “Steadfast fur soldiers,/ armed to the teeth... conquering cabbages row upon row.” And cats are downright bipolar: “Pitter-patter pampered paws,/ ripping razor cutting claws.” OHora’s chunky acrylic caricatures are well suited to Wheeler’s lightly wicked humor (a pony is shown in a beauty salon chair, mane in curlers, kicking at the girl). The poems may not make children rethink their pet dreams, but they’ll certainly laugh at the worst-case scenarios. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Sean McCarthy, Sheldon Fogelman Agency. (Apr.)
Booklist
"Wheeler’s simple poems are fun and funny, and they introduce a wide variety of critters. OHora’s thickly lined acrylic illustrations add to the entertainment, with a bespectacled, science-minded girl (yay!) at the helm and humorous interpretations of animals, set on white pages. Also, this one might talk kids out of wanting a pet. You’re welcome."
From the Publisher
“When children read the foreword, which includes the warning, “Animals aren’t always charming,” they will know that this is not going to be your average, warm and fuzzy animal poetry book. The tongue-in-cheek verses serve as a “research guide” (and alert) for youngsters who are considering getting a pet…. Humorous first-person rhymes…. OHora’s illustrations, done in muted acrylics, add to the whimsy…kids will love the silly humor and animal discussion.”

"Kids will enjoy the poems…. The funniest, and shortest, poem is about a hippopotamus: “Chances of getting a hippo: / zippo.” OHora’s acrylics make sure kids get the jokes, engulfing the girl in smelly, green hippo breath and gleefully depicting both excrement and icky eating habits. The microscope may seem anticlimactic after she’s looked at hippos and monkeys, but her choice makes perfect sense. Parents will find it heartwarming, since it encourages an interest in science. Children might prefer the hippo, but they’ll have fun reading the poop jokes out loud to their parents again and again.”

"Wheeler’s simple poems are fun and funny, and they introduce a wide variety of critters. OHora’s thickly lined acrylic illustrations add to the entertainment, with a bespectacled, science-minded girl (yay!) at the helm and humorous interpretations of animals, set on white pages. Also, this one might talk kids out of wanting a pet. You’re welcome."

"OHora’s chunky acrylic caricatures are well suited to Wheeler’s lightly wicked humor (a pony is shown in a beauty salon chair, mane in curlers, kicking at the girl). The poems may not make children rethink their pet dreams, but they’ll certainly laugh at the worst-case scenarios.”

March 2013 School Library Journal
“When children read the foreword, which includes the warning, “Animals aren’t always charming,” they will know that this is not going to be your average, warm and fuzzy animal poetry book. The tongue-in-cheek verses serve as a “research guide” (and alert) for youngsters who are considering getting a pet…. Humorous first-person rhymes…. OHora’s illustrations, done in muted acrylics, add to the whimsy…kids will love the silly humor and animal discussion.”
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—When children read the foreword, which includes the warning, "Animals aren't always charming," they will know that this is not going to be your average, warm and fuzzy animal poetry book. The tongue-in-cheek verses serve as a "research guide" (and alert) for youngsters who are considering getting a pet. A young girl armed with a notebook in which to write her observations visits a farm, a zoo, and the woods to gain insight into how various creatures really live in order to decide on the right kind of pet and whether or not she would be able to care for it. Humorous first-person rhymes show her findings, which ultimately highlight the downside of the various animals. For example, monkeys smell "funky" and horses have a tendency to kick. The girl also performs a "home study" wherein she observes goldfish; an ant farm; and standard pets like cats, dogs, and gerbils. Ultimately, she decides that animals are probably not worth all the trouble and asks her parents for a microscope instead. OHora's illustrations, done in muted acrylics, add to the whimsy and even give the silent creatures personality. While the rhyme falls flat at times, kids will love the silly humor and animal discussion.—Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Let parents who find inspiration in this book think twice. They may think they can use the collection as an example and tell their kids, "If you want a pet, you have to write a report, preferably in verse form, on which animal is the best choice." Like the narrator, their children may decide they'd rather have a microscope instead of a real, live pet. So a note to parents: That trick almost never works. Kids will enjoy the poems for a completely different reason: They are funny. The section about farm animals has many, many jokes about poo. The pattern is always the same. The main character thinks she might like a cow or a chicken as a pet. Then it poops on her, or maybe kicks her or pecks at her instead. The later sections of the book are more inventive, and the jokes are concomitantly cleverer. The funniest, and shortest, poem is about a hippopotamus: "Chances of getting a hippo: / zippo." OHora's acrylics make sure kids get the jokes, engulfing the girl in smelly, green hippo breath and gleefully depicting both excrement and icky eating habits. The microscope may seem anticlimactic after she's looked at hippos and monkeys, but her choice makes perfect sense. Parents will find it heartwarming, since it encourages an interest in science. Children might prefer the hippo, but they'll have fun reading the poop jokes out loud to their parents again and again. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416975953
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 335,782
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Wheeler has written eighteen books for children, including The Pet Project, illustrated by Zachariah OHora, and the hilarious Spinster Goose, illustrated by Sophie Blackall. She lives with her family in Addison, Michigan. Visit her online at LisaWheelerBooks.com.

Zachariah OHora is an award-winning illustrator whose work has appeared in numerous publications. His book Stop Snoring, Bernard! was the official selection for the 2012 Pennsylvania One Book, Every Young Child program. Visit him online at ZOHora.com.

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