|Melissa's octopus and other unsuitable pets|
Author: Voake, Charlotte
Certain animals are suitable pets while others are unusual because of their large size, messiness, and tendency to break things. Can you guess the animal which is the most unsuitable pet?
School Library Journal (06/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (07/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2015 Melissa’s octopus may be a showstopper of a pet (“What a splendid creature he is”), but his bathing habits are sloppy; Thomas and Betty can never find their pets (mole and chameleon). Arthur’s warthog is overbearing while Caroline’s giraffe is too tall, Simon can’t make heads or tails of his pet worm, and Peter’s elephant has an unfortunate habit of falling through the floor. Kevin and Bertrand’s crocodile may be stunning, but is he trustworthy around this group of small—and potentially tasty—children? A suggestion that he has eaten the lot of them is followed by a reassuring illustration of the children sitting together at a table (“Phew! They’re all having a snack”) but the closing picture implies that it may only be a matter of time before one of them becomes lunch. Many a kid has enjoyably speculated about owning such unsuitable pets, and there is plenty of entertainment value in Voake’s brief, drolly understated text and her lively pen and watercolor illustrations. Though this has great potential as a humorous readaloud, the simple text, printed in large red san serif type, is also fairly accessible to young readers (perhaps with a bit of support for words like “chameleon”). Printed on matte paper, the figures of the “pets” and their owners are presented in warm, rich hues (casually but carefully accented and outlined with thin black strokes) against an elegant pale gray background—except for the scene of the possibly full (of children) crocodile, in which the font changes to white capitals and the backdrop dramatically shifts to bright red. This could be an enjoyable addition to a pet-themed story session or a useful prompt for some what-if creative writing or drawing assignments. JH - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2015 PreS-Gr 2—Children frequently ask for pets that most parents would deem unacceptable, but what might happen if these improper pets really found homes? Such is premise of Voake's tongue-in-cheek offering. Melissa's octopus is a "splendid creature," but a very messy bather. And Arthur's warthog is a "beautiful animal," though his table manners leave much to be desired. The dynamic watercolor and ink illustrations complement the text nicely, with the animals acting out and the children adoring them just the same. The twist ending will leave children giggling and prove that a crocodile may be the most unsuitable pet of all. VERDICT This humorous title will work well for sharing with early elementary students as well as preschoolers.—Martha Link Yesowitch, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, NC - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.