The well-worn premise of longing for the ideal pet gets a quirky tweak in DiPucchio's (Grace for President) story, which plays out humorously in Shea's (Dinosaur vs. the Potty) free-wheeling digital illustrations. Limited to his fishbowl, Gilbert can't do any searching, but he eagerly watches as potential pets approach. The arrival of a friendly, barking dog initially delights Gilbert (his owners appear to be dog-sitting), but he "never dreamed his pet would be so noisy." Next, a mouse appears and excitedly sniffs at the bowl, thinking Gilbert is a chunk of cheddar, then runs off when she realizes her error. Kids with a dark sense of humor will appreciate the second half of the book: another candidate—an amiable fly—has an unfortunate encounter with a fly swatter, and DiPucchio builds tension regarding the identity of the final "pet," which has a "long tail and wiry whiskers" and is slyly pictured in silhouette at first. Shea's bright, high-contrast artwork has a TV cartoon vibe and is in playful sync with the tale, which ends happily for all (except for the fly). Ages 3–5. (June)
Shea’s big, brightly colored graphic-style scenes fill in the details." — Booklist
“A fresh, funny take on a popular topic—the perfect pet.” — Kirkus
“Shea’s bright, high-contrast artwork has a TV cartoon vibe.” — Publishers Weekly
“Shea’s bold, expressive illustrations elevate this to a higher plane.” — School Library Journal
“Pet lovers of all age will approve.” — Viginian-Pilot
Pet lovers of all age will approve.
Shea’s big, brightly colored graphic-style scenes fill in the details."
PreS-Gr 1—At first glance, it would seem that Gilbert Goldfish has it made: castle, treasure chest, and a steady supply of tasty flakes falling from the sky into his bowl. But sadness overwhelms him. Gilbert's deepest desire is to have a pet of his own, to care for and love. Finding the right one is no easy task for a goldfish, though. The visiting dog is too loud, the mouse too rude (he shuns Gilbert once he determines that the fish is not a big chunk of cheddar), and the fly—well, what happens to the fly is too tragic to talk about. Finally, Gilbert thinks he has found the perfect pet, but readers may fear for his safety. Will all end in happiness or a calamity? The clever text stands on its own, but Shea's bold, expressive illustrations elevate this title to a higher plane. Wavy orange endpapers establish the watery setting and bright palette. Gilbert exudes emotion, whether love, horror, or sadness. With its mix of humor, mild shock (that fly again), and surprise ending, Gilbert Goldfish is a perfect choice for storytime and bedtime.—Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR
A fresh, funnytake on a popular topic—the perfect pet.
Gilbert is a happy, happy goldfish, except for one very important thing. He desperately wants a pet. Not surprisingly, when a dog arrives and befriends Gilbert, the little fish is over the moon. That is, until all that barking begins to irritate his nerves. Gilbert is happy when the yappy dog departs, but he still wants a pet. Next to come by is a mouse. Gilbert thinks she will make the perfect pet, but she disappears once she realizes that though he is orange, Gilbert is not, in fact, a piece of cheese. Gilbert next meets a fly, but that relationship quickly ends with the unceremonious "Thwack!" of a fly-swatter. Poor Gilbert. Will he ever find the perfect pet? Shea's bright, cartoonlike illustrations place the emphasis on Gilbert's emotional rollercoaster. His excitement and disappointment as he gets to know each possible pet are palpable, with swift digital semicircles charting his ups and downs.
Pair with Emma Dodd's What Pet to Get (2008) or Fiona Robertson's Wanted: The Perfect Pet (2010) for surefire pet-centric fun. (Picture book. 4-8)