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The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses Hardcover – April 2, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 1-4-When children read the foreword, which includes the warning, "Animals aren't always charming," they will know that this is not going to be your average, warm and fuzzy animal poetry book. The tongue-in-cheek verses serve as a "research guide" (and alert) for youngsters who are considering getting a pet. A young girl armed with a notebook in which to write her observations visits a farm, a zoo, and the woods to gain insight into how various creatures really live in order to decide on the right kind of pet and whether or not she would be able to care for it. Humorous first-person rhymes show her findings, which ultimately highlight the downside of the various animals. For example, monkeys smell "funky" and horses have a tendency to kick. The girl also performs a "home study" wherein she observes goldfish; an ant farm; and standard pets like cats, dogs, and gerbils. Ultimately, she decides that animals are probably not worth all the trouble and asks her parents for a microscope instead. OHora's illustrations, done in muted acrylics, add to the whimsy and even give the silent creatures personality. While the rhyme falls flat at times, kids will love the silly humor and animal discussion.-Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

This one comes with a warning: “Animals aren’t always charming.” When the girl in this picture book of rhymed poems asks her parents for a pet, the “science-minded folk” suggest she do her research first. Good idea. Armed with notebook and pen, she meets a cow who looks peaceful, but “upon closer inspection / she seemed sort of mean / nudging me into the mud.” Next up are a kicking pony, a pooping dove, and a dead goldfish. Throughout, animals are “test subjects,” and her observations appear periodically on lined notebook paper. After a series of disappointments, our gal comes to an important conclusion: she is not a kid cut out for too much pet responsibility. She is the kind of kid who settles on a microscope to view teeny tiny “beasties.” Wheeler’s simple poems are fun and funny, and they introduce a wide variety of critters. OHora’s thickly lined acrylic illustrations add to the entertainment, with a bespectacled, science-minded girl (yay!) at the helm and humorous interpretations of animals, set on white pages. Also, this one might talk kids out of wanting a pet. You’re welcome. Grades K-3. --Ann Kelley
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416975950
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416975953
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By pamelathompsonblogger on April 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses

by Lisa Wheeler

Illustrated by Zachariah Ohora

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

2013

40 pages

From the vibrant cover art to the warning label and verse, "If you're the type who oohs and aahs/ at furry faces, precious paws/ the words ahead may be alarming/ Animals aren't always charming," The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses delivers charming poetry and spot-on illustrations. The publisher's website recommends ages 4-8, but anyone who loves poetry and likes to laugh will love this cute poetry book.

An intelligent young girl asks her science loving parents for a pet. They give her a task: she must research all animals and using science, figure out what animal will make the best pet. Only then, will her parents consider allowing a pet to join the household. So, notebook in hand, the young scientist visits a farm, the zoo, the woods, and finally her own home for a home study.

The girl writes down all her findings to present to her parents. A poem about each animal tells about her journey. My favorite is the shortest poem about the hippopatamus: "Chances of getting a hippo/ zippo."

The girl concludes by saying that all animals need care and attention but since she's forgetful, a pet may not be for her. Then she realizes that there are tiny animals everywhere that need no care, but they are hard to find with the naked eye. She asks her parents for a microscope!

The girl visits the pet store and looks at a parrot. She says, "He's memorized some sonnets/ and some long Shakespearian verses/ But when I try to talk to him/ that fowl mouth only curses!
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My wife and I have three children, and from the outset we agreed that children's books were something we felt good about investing in for them. Lisa Wheeler has never disappointed, though we've bought each of her books--like this one--online and therefore virtually sight unseen. For reasons unfathomable to me, her books have never been carried by the bookstores in our large metro. area. Bubble Gum Bubble Gum is my personal favorite, but this one will be ranking pretty high as well. Our kids, who love Jack Prelutsky's poems, will think these are just as great. I am hoping it will also convince them that we do not need a tiger or a monkey as an addition to our already outrageous pet managerie.
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By J. Michael on March 12, 2015
Format: Hardcover
As the father of a toddler, I'm sick to death of modern children's books, which seem mostly to be characterized by primitive illustrations and banal writing. Thus, when my child wanted to read this book at the library I was immediately turned off by the ugly cover art. However, I was very pleasantly surprised, most especially by the author's sparkling and witty rhyming story, but also by the somewhat charming artwork which wasn't as ugly and primitive as the cover art led me to expect. This book is one of the gems of modern children's writing.
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Format: Hardcover
Wheeler presents lighthearted poems with more depth than many adult poetry books. From simple alliteration and potty humor to made up rhyming words and double entendre, the rhyming story appeals to all ages (even adults!). As a homeschooler, I used this book to illustrate the use of numerous writing devices--almost by accident, as we had only checked it out for a poetry day. We were all entertained by the witty and intelligent illustrations, too.
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I used this book with my 5th grade students. I loved it but what is more important is how much they LOVED hearing it!
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