Poor Mr. Betts' pets! First they all develop spottyitis, and then they come down with a series of equally silly ailments such as stripes, beards and finally, shrinking in size. Fortunately for Mr. Betts, who loves his pets, and for the perplexed well-meaning vet, Mr. Potts, the animals all return to normal size after eating food. Told in rhyme, "Your pets are precious, I know you need them. / Now all you have to do is feed them!" this picture book is both entertaining and repetitive enough for beginning readers. Teachers could easily extend this book by asking children to come up with medicines that cause absurd results in the animals, through creative writing and/or illustrations. The cheerful and colorful illustrations will appeal to children. Librarians, check out the endpapers. 2000, Barefoot Books, $15.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Wendy Pollock-Gilson
PreS-K-This rhyming story introduces some color concepts but has several weaknesses. Mr. Betts has a cat, fish, snake, rat, rabbit, canary, frog, and dog. When they all get spots, he visits the vet, Mr. Potts, who gives them a green potion. This cures the first malady but gives them another, forcing Mr. Betts to return to the vet repeatedly, each time receiving a different-colored remedy. Finally, the pets are normal, but smaller in size, and the doctor reassures his bewildered client, "Your pets are precious, I know you need them./Now all you have to do is feed them!" The story is slight and predictable, although children will enjoy the repetition. The rhyme suits the story, but does not always scan well. Though the gouache illustrations are sharply outlined in black, the colors overstep the lines, giving them a hurried or amateurish look. Both artwork and text have appeal, but they are neither fresh nor original. Rhyming books are a dime a dozen, and for a truly worthwhile color book, go with Ellen Walsh's Mouse Paint (Harcourt, 1989).-Amy Lilien-Harper, Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.