Wanted: The Perfect Pet

Wanted: The Perfect Pet by Fiona Roberton

More than anything Henry wanted a dog.  More than chips, more than a trip to the moon, more than world peace!  Henry already has lots of frogs, 27 varieties, but they are boring compared to a dog.  He knows just the kind of dog he wants: one with personality, one that does tricks, one that has floppy ears and a warm, furry tongue.  So Henry posted an ad in the paper and waited.  The ad was read by a lonely duck who decided that being Henry’s dog was the perfect place for him.  So he disguised himself as a dog and headed to Henry’s house.  Henry was very excited to see him, but got more and more puzzled as his dog failed to live up to his expectations.  When the dog was revealed to be a duck, what would Henry do?

Roberton has created a book with an interesting feel and style.  She includes clever asides and quirky perspectives.  The book has a very charming style of writing that gives the illustrations enough space to help tell much of the story too.  The illustrations are filled with white space and offer plenty of small details that readers will enjoy discovering.  Watch for the sheep flying past in the background on a windy day. 

A special, quirky picture book that takes selecting a pet to an intelligent and wise place.  Appropriate for ages 4-7. 

Reviewed from copy received from Putnam.

Boom!

Boom! by Mark Haddon

Jim is a magnet for trouble, which is why he thinks his older sister might be telling the truth when she says that the teachers at his school are talking about sending him to reform school.  So he and his best friend Charlie come up with a plan to bug the teacher’s lounge.  While listening, they discover that two of their teachers are speaking in an unknown language.  Jim and Charlie set out to discover what exactly is going on in their school and stumble onto a plot that is much larger than they had ever dreamed. 

Haddon has written a book with a fabulous blend of action, adventure and humor.  The book has a break-neck pace at times that young readers will find great fun, combined with a sense of humor that will have them laughing out loud.  The relationship between Jim and Charlie is so well done.  It completely captures the tension of two best friends, the fights, and the immense connection they have.  I also particularly enjoyed Jim’s father as a character who is losing himself in model aircraft and then discovers cooking as a passion.  There are character who will surprise readers too, but I’ll let you discover that for yourself.  Let’s just say that Haddon excels at creating characters with real dimension.

Teachers and parents looking for a book to hand to reluctant readers over the summer need look no further.  It will also work well as a classroom read aloud thanks to its great pacing and writing. 

This fun blend of intrigue and science fiction will win readers over easily.  Perfect for lifting your summer vacation into orbit.  Appropriate for ages 10-13.

Reviewed from copy received from Knopt Delacorte Dell.