Wanted! A Guinea Pig Called Henry

Wanted! A Guinea Pig Called Henry

4.5 2
by Wendy Orr, Patricia Castelao

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Sam wants a pet for her birthday, but her mom and dad have already said that their apartment is too small for a cat or a dog. A trip to Rainbow Street Shelter to look at the smaller animals can’t hurt, though!

At the shelter, Sam finds the perfect pet for her, a fluffy black guinea pig named Henry. But she can’t help noticing how happy her little


Sam wants a pet for her birthday, but her mom and dad have already said that their apartment is too small for a cat or a dog. A trip to Rainbow Street Shelter to look at the smaller animals can’t hurt, though!

At the shelter, Sam finds the perfect pet for her, a fluffy black guinea pig named Henry. But she can’t help noticing how happy her little brother is when he’s reading to Nelly, the Rainbow Street dog. Why can’t he read like that when he’s in school? Nelly looks happy, too. Sam starts to wonder . . . can a dog go to kindergarten?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Vicki Foote
The Rainbow Street Shelter abounds with puppies, guinea pigs, and a talkative parrot in this chapter book in the "Rainbow Street Shelter" series. Nelly, a young puppy, is brought to Mona, who is in charge of the shelter. Nelly is so good at helping the other pets feel comfortable that Mona decides to adopt Nelly as her own. The second chapter introduces Sam, a girl who has some speech difficulties. She wants a pet but must choose a small one. The family goes to the shelter and Liam, her brother, meets Nelly and wants to keep her, but the family is not able to have a dog because they live in an apartment. Sam adopts a guinea pig that she names Henry. Sam learns to take care of Henry, but she fears he is lonely when she is gone. Liam also needs help with reading, and Sam gets the idea that the kids at school would enjoy reading to a dog. Sam gets permission to bring Nelly to school, and he becomes the reading dog for the kindergarten class. Sam is still worried about Henry being lonely, so she convinces her parents to get another guinea pig at the shelter for Liam. This is a pleasant book for children who are beginning to read chapter books independently. The story incorporates the importance of the responsibility of taking gentle and consistent care of pets. It would also be a good book to read aloud to young children. Reviewer: Vicki Foote
From the Publisher

“A wonderful stupendously blunderful read aloud: full of delicious word play that will delight listeners, with art reminiscent of Edward Ardizzone.” —Ellen Fader, Youth Services Coordinator, Multnomah County Library and ALSC Immediate Past President on Mokie and Bik

“This set of splishy-splashy episodes will itself draw waggles from easy-reader graduates and read-aloud audiences in general.” —Kirkus Reviews on Mokie and Bik

“Orr's colorful use of language brings energy to the story. The many crosshatch drawings are often graeful and always appealing. A lively, unusual choice for young readers.” —School Library Journal on Mokie and Bik

Product Details

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
Rainbow Street Shelter Series , #3
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Wanted! A Guinea Pig Called Henry


When Nelly was a tiny, round brown puppy with short legs and a stumpy tail, she lived with a baby boy and his mother.

Nelly and the baby boy were always together. They rolled and tumbled across the floor and around the backyard. They played tug-of-war, splashed together in mud puddles, and dug in the sandbox.

When the baby boy cried, Nelly snuggled beside him, fussing over him as if she were a mother dog and he was her puppy.

But when the baby was a nearly two-year-old walking, talking little boy andNelly was an already grown-up dog, the mother got a new job in a country on the other side of the world. She and her little boy had to move, and they could not take Nelly with them.

The mother asked all her family and friends, but no one had a place for Nelly. There was only one thing she could do.

"We'll take her to the Rainbow Street Animal Shelter and ask them to find her a good home," the mother said.



Rainbow Street was short and narrow. At the end, surrounded by a tall wire fence, was a big garden with shady trees andgreen lawns. The building at its front was pale blue, with a bright rainbow arching over the cheery, cherry red door.

"Can I help you?" squawked a gray parrot as the little boy and his mother stepped into the waiting room with Nelly.

A young woman with long dark hair wound up above a kind face and a name tag that said MONA came out from a door. "Gulliver likes being the receptionist," she explained.

"Gulliver!" the parrot agreed, in his croaky old man's voice.

The mother smiled, and her little boy laughed.

But the little boy stopped laughing when his mother said good-bye to Nellyand lifted her into Mona's arms. He did not want to leave without his friend. He threw himself onto the floor, kicking and screaming in the loudest, most ferocious tantrum of his whole life.

With a wriggle and a squirm, Nelly leapt out of Mona's arms. She snuggled in tight against the little boy's side, licking the tears off his face until he had to giggle.

Then his mother picked him up, Mona picked up Nelly, and they said good-bye. The mother felt like crying, too, but she knew that this was the best place for the little stumpy-tailed dog to find a new home.



Mona met lots of dogs every day, but shehad never met one who worked so hard at making someone feel better.

"Now you need someone to look after you!" she said, when the little boy and his mother had gone. She stroked firmly down Nelly's back, one hand after the other, over and over, till the round brown body started to relax.

A gray-haired man came in from the dog runs, and smiled to see Mona sitting on the floor with the dog. He had never seen his busy friend look so relaxed.

"Will I take her out to a kennel now?" Juan asked gently. His voice was the same as the parrot's.

"Hola, amigo!" screeched Gulliver, flapping his wings with excitement.

"In a minute," said Mona, still stroking the little brown dog.



But before she could get up, the door burst open and a man came in carrying a white cat wrapped in a towel.

"She was running down the middle of the road, scared out of her wits!" the man said. "I don't know where she came from."

He put the cat bundle down on the floor.

Nelly leapt toward it.

The cat hissed, spat, and backed into a corner.

"Nelly!" shouted Mona.

"Sorry!" said the man.

"Can I help you?" screeched Gulliver.

"I think it's okay," said Juan—because Nelly was not chasing the cat. Even when she waved a scratching claw at Nelly's nose, the little brown dog just crept forward on her belly, her head down and bottom up, stumpy tail wagging.

The white cat meowed but didn't hiss.

Nelly crept closer and started to lick the frightened cat. The cat twitched her tail in annoyance, but let the dog go on licking.

Finally, the cat gave a shake and jumped up onto the windowsill. She began smoothing her rumpled fur with her neat white paws, looking around the room as if she had always been there.

"I've never seen anything like that before!" said the man who'd rescued her.

"Neither have I," said Juan.

"Nelly," said Mona, "I think you've found your home."



So Nelly became Mona's dog, and came to the shelter with her every day.

The white cat stayed, too. No one ever came to find her, and she never wanted to leave the office. Juan named her Blanco,but even though Blanco loved Juan more than any other person, she never wanted to go home with him. She was happy just to curl up in her basket under the desk for the night.

In the morning, when Nelly and Mona came in, she rushed to greet them. Nelly licked her face till Blanco blinked and leapt up to her windowsill to wash the doggy kisses off her fur. For the rest of the day, she sat there watching everything that happened, letting people pat her if they asked politely, and keeping out of the way of the other dogs and cats as they came through the waiting room.

But Nelly liked meeting the people and animals that arrived feeling lost orworried. When puppies or kittens needed mothering, she stayed with them till they could be alone or were ready to be adopted. And if they were very young, Mona took them home at night so she could give them their midnight milk and Nelly could snuggle them all night long.

Text copyright © 2012 by Wendy Orr

Meet the Author

Wendy Orr has written more than two dozen children’s books, including Lost! A Dog Called Bear, the first book in the Rainbow Street Animal series, Mokie and Bik, Ark in the Park, and Nim’s Island. She lives with her family in Australia, near the sea.


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Wanted! A Guinea Pig Called Henry 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The dog that makes a baby happy goes to the shelter and the baby throws him self on the grown a has a big tantrefit but the dog stays at the shelter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Get it now