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Prudence Wants a Pet Hardcover – June 21, 2011

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Product Description

Prudence wants a pet. Desperately.
“No,” says Dad, “pets cost too much to keep.”
“No,” says Mom, “pets make noise.”
But Prudence is determined. She finds her own pet. It is a…branch. But Branch isn't exactly the pet of her dreams, and neither are Twig, Mr. Round (a car tire), or her baby brother Milo.
Poor Prudence. Will she ever find the perfect pet?

Amazon Exclusive: A Note from Author Cathleen Daly

I had a constant influx and outflow of pets in my life as a kid. I had the usual short-lived carnival goldfish, the token hamster or two, some small worried looking white mice. But mostly, there were cats (no wonder the mice looked worried). My first memories are of cats. Cats curled by my neck, my side, on my belly, pouncing on my ballet bun (my hair in a topknot was very similar in size and texture to a mouse). Cats weaving through my ankles, curled in my trumpet case, sprawling across my homework giving themselves a long bath. When we didn't seek out cats they would seemingly seek us out.

Our first cat was Andrew---a big, white, long-haired, rubbery-limbed kitty, who was so relaxed you could pick him up and cart him around the neighborhood or, if the mood struck you, dress him up in doll clothes. He fell in love with the lady cat next door and started spending all his time with her. When the neighbors moved we gave Andrew to them because we felt it would be cruel to separate such a devoted couple. We grieved but only for a moment because within a week we found a pair of almost newborn stray kittens in the wastebasket in our garage. The boy kitty had ABC (already-been-chewed) gum stuck to his fur. We carefully removed the gum with tiny manicure scissors and promptly named him Blackie and his spotty sister, Callie. I could happily tell you all kinds of intricate details about Callie and Blackie and Every Cat We Ever Owned (at one point we had ten, granted, nine of them were kittens), but I won't. I will mention that when you have ten cats, nine of whom are kittens, they sort of “flock”. The ten of them, at times, moved as one entity, like a roly-poly, frolicking, fuzzy herd. I will also mention that the cat I had the longest and strongest bond with was named Jessica aka Jessie. A boy in my third-grade class brought kittens to school one day and the moment I saw her I knew she was mine and brought her home without asking my mother. It was the boy who suggested I name her Jessica; "That's my ex-girlfriend's name," he said. Initially the question may appear to be: Wasn't it awfully audacious of me to bring home a new kitten without permission? But I believe the deeper and perhaps more compelling question here would be---what was a third grader doing with an ex-girlfriend?

Most of my adult life I've lived in places where pets weren't allowed, so sadly I haven't had a pet to call my own. So I write about them. Pet-sit them. And seem to still, somehow, attract cats. Though solely as visitors nowadays. Every apartment or cottage I’ve lived in seems to come with the requisite curious neighborhood cat,who, on warm days will wander into my place, wind through my legs while I work at the computer. Meow. Sniff. And in some cases, if I’m lucky, let me pick them up and give 'em a scritch.

For instance, in my current place a sleek, talkative kitty named Lenny frequently comes to visit. I like to imagine he’s named after Lenny Bruce because he’s so outspoken. He’s just growing out of adolescence and is frisky, curious, very soft, and occasionally, a wee bit smelly (that’s adolescence for you). Now, as much as I enjoy borrowing neighborhood cats (Lenny's grooming habits are improving all the time) I am determined (not unlike Prudence, the protagonist in my book) to have my very own pet someday. In some ways Prudence Wants a Pet is a wish-fulfillment story (it may as well be called Cathleen Wants A Pet). But it's also a story about tenacity and not giving up on dreams. And I dream of kittens (yes, more than one, but definitely not ten) curled up on the small blue blanket at the foot of my bed.


“In real life Prudence would probably be viewed as the weird kid with the branch, but in the literary realm she's an imaginative and determined heroine, and audiences will be glad to see her persistence rewarded.” ―BCCB

“Sweetly illustrated by Stephen Michael King (Leaf), 'Prudence' deftly combines funny and cute, and has a resourceful heroine too.” ―The New York Times Book Review

“In her first picture book, Daly (Flirt Club) chronicles Prudence's misplaced affections . . . rife with understated humor . . . . King (Leaf) pictures Prudence's passive-aggressive charade in loose pen-and-ink sequences reminiscent of Quentin Blake's sketch art.” ―Starred, Publishers Weekly

“A classic theme feels fresh as a squiggling kitten.” ―Starred, Kirkus Reviews

“I admire this book so much I have adopted it as my pet. I drag it around with me wherever I go, never letting it out of my sight.” ―Lemony Snicket

“Small pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations on a white background reveal a time progression in vignettes that are spread across the pages. The humorous consequences of Prudence's experiments make this a lighthearted read about never giving up on one's dreams.” ―School Library Journal

“It’s ultimately Daly’s dry humor and her wonderfully imaginative and persistent protagonist that elevate this book above typical kiddo-wants-a-pet fare. King’s deceptively simple illustrations―spare line drawings punctuated with color―are hilarious, perfectly chronicling the ups and downs of Prudence’s endeavors, as well as her emotions.” ―Horn Book


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (June 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596434686
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596434684
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.4 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cathleen Daly is performer and writer who lives in the Bay Area outside San Francisco. Besides writing unintelligible notes to herself, she writes poetry, fiction and experimental theater.
Her poetry has been published in a variety of journals and in Literary Mama, The Anthology. She's authored one chapbook of poetry, "Ode to the Unhinged". Her last show "How to be a Secret Agent Girl as Seen on American Television and in Movies" won Best of the SF Fringe Festival and was featured in the Women on the Way Festival. Her favorite part of the show, besides squishing her face into a cake, was playing a dirty, old pirate and swaggering around in pantaloons. "Pantaloons" is one of Cathleen's favorite words. Some other favorites are "pantsuit", "culottes", and "addendum".

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids Book Reviews on August 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A cute story that caused a lot of laughter and has some great illustrations.

Prudence desperately wants a pet, and no matter how many times she asks she's constantly told no. Using her imagination, Prudence decides to adopt various things around her house and make them her pet, and in the end a tree branch, a shoe, her little brother and even a tire aren't very fun pets. Who doesn't want to have a loyal campion with them?

This is a delightful read that kids will really enjoy. It's a story both kids and some adults alike will be able to relate to. Especially if you're someone who grew up wanting a pet. I enjoyed how inventive Prudence was in trying to find the perfect pet. Even though her tree branch, the shoe, her little brother and everything else she finds end up not being the pet she wanted, she's finally granted the perfect pet from her parents for her birthday. With the endless possibilities on what it could be, you'll have to go pick up Prudence's story to find out what she received. I can tell you it's not a branch, a shoe, her little brother or a tire.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Sack VINE VOICE on November 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Prudence wants a pet more than anything, but he parents will not agree to get her one. She gets creative and "adopts" various objects as her pets but this is just not the same. Finally for her birthday her parents give in a get her a puppy! This book was a hoot to read aloud! My girls loved seeing what Prudence would come up with next!
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By Connie Hein on September 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I found this book and read it to my two granddaughters at their Lincoln Nebraska library when we were there for a visit! I was laughing and the girls were giggling so much that we almost got kicked out!!! We checked it out and read it over and over while we were there and laughed just as hard each time! Nothing that brings more joy than the belly laughs of little children! It is the funniest, sweetest, wittiest, most cleaver book! I wish I had written it:) It will be one of our gifts to our youngest granddaughter who is turning 6 years old in October! She will be so excited!
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By Aimee Dillon on January 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This story is heartwarming and sweet! Prudence wants a pet more than anything and, like many parents, hers thinks pets are too messy, too much work, too dirty. Trying to make the best of a crummy situation, Prudence makes a branch a pet, a stick, a shoe, an old tire- even her brother! This story is CUTE and the illustrations are fun, best of all Prudence's wish might come true and learns that tears can be be HAPPY tears!
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By Amazon Customer on April 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a parent, I love books that can make me laugh. I know I'm going to have to read it at least twenty times before my son is tired of it, so I want it to amuse me too. This book definitely does that. I loved everything about it.
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