Wanted: The Perfect Pet

Overview

Henry wants a dog more than anything in the world-more than a cowboy costume, even more than an all-expenses-paid trip to the moon. So he puts an ad in the newspaper to find the perfect pet.

Far away, a lonely duck who desperately wants a friend reads the ad. He has the clever idea to disguise himself as a dog and apply for the job of Henry's best friend. But his cover is quickly blown when he isn't very good at catching balls and his floppy ears and tail fall off. Henry is ...

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Overview

Henry wants a dog more than anything in the world-more than a cowboy costume, even more than an all-expenses-paid trip to the moon. So he puts an ad in the newspaper to find the perfect pet.

Far away, a lonely duck who desperately wants a friend reads the ad. He has the clever idea to disguise himself as a dog and apply for the job of Henry's best friend. But his cover is quickly blown when he isn't very good at catching balls and his floppy ears and tail fall off. Henry is disappointed for a moment, until he thinks of all the amazing things this duck CAN do, and realizes he's found the perfect pet after all.

Fiona Roberton's irresistible illustrations and utterly charming characters will win the hearts of readers of all ages.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For her U.S. debut, Roberton provides line drawings just substantive enough to carry her story. Her hero, Henry, is a moon-headed boy who has 27 kinds of frogs but deeply wants a dog. Though her images possess an understated humor, Roberton seems more interested in words, and the story's real appeal is in her winking blend of whimsy and irony. The lonely duck who answers Henry's ad for a dog (“Must have waggy tail, floppy ears, soft wet nose and warm furry tongue”) is exposed as a fraud almost immediately, but Henry is quick to realize that a duck has charms of its own. “Can FLY!” he jots down in a list of Duck Skills. “Could put on aeronautical show to earn extra pocket money.” The asides are just as funny as the main story—Henry's newspaper ad for the perfect pet appears next to an ad for a time machine and an angry mob for hire—yet Henry's quick about-face and loyalty to his new pet feel genuine. A read-aloud tale good for some decorous giggling before bed. Ages 5-8. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 2—Henry is looking for the perfect pet. The ad he places in the classifieds reads, "must have waggy tail, floppy ears, soft wet nose and warm furry tongue." Duck lives alone on a cold, windy hill where no one calls, writes, or emails. After reading Henry's ad, he makes a clever doggy disguise and journeys off to meet the boy. Henry is delighted with his new "dog" until its nose, tail, and ears fall off in a game of chase. Then Henry does some research in his Enormous Book of Incredibly Interesting Things and is delighted with his new pet, especially after he makes a list of the duck's skills, including underwater swimming, flying, nest building, excellent at disguises, and "can talk...rare, but not unheard of." Declaring the bird the perfect pet, Henry names the now-happy duck Spot. Roberton's line drawings have a palette of mostly of black and white, gray, and touches of green and yellow. They are very effective in conveying mood, action, and humor. The amusing text is placed in and among the illustrations for a seamless partnership between the two. An excellent tale about not getting what you thought you wanted but loving it anyway.—Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH
Kirkus Reviews
Henry wants a dog. He has an extensive collection of frogs, but frogs are boring. "I want a pet with personality," he tells his mother. So Henry does what any little boy would do and advertises in the local paper, the Daily Catastrophe. Enter Duck. Duck is a lonely, nameless bird with no friends. He sees Henry's ad in the paper and naturally decides to dress up as a dog and answer the ad. During the interview, however, Duck is found out. Henry decides to take in the poor duck anyway and discovers that he may have met his perfect pet after all. Roberton makes this fantastic silliness work by choosing to take her characters seriously and letting her simple, even childlike, tongue-in-cheek drawings do much of the comedic work. The story maintains a consistently funny edge, features characters kids will empathize with and includes some hilarious highlights, such as the outrageous classified ads ("FOR FREE: Enchanted Mirror / Always speaks the truth"). Some of this may go over little heads, but adults need to laugh too. Extremely entertaining, with lots of warmth at its heart. (Picture book. 4-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399254611
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/13/2010
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 663,188
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.74 (w) x 9.44 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Fiona Roberton is a graphic designer. This is her first picture book published in the United States.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2012

    Wonderful book!

    Wonderful book!

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    Posted June 23, 2010

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    Posted January 27, 2011

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