From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2 Henry is looking for the perfect pet. The ad he places in the classifieds reads, must have waggy tail, floppy ears, soft wet nose and warm furry tongue. Duck lives alone on a cold, windy hill where no one calls, writes, or emails. After reading Henry's ad, he makes a clever doggy disguise and journeys off to meet the boy. Henry is delighted with his new dog until its nose, tail, and ears fall off in a game of chase. Then Henry does some research in his Enormous Book of Incredibly Interesting Things
and is delighted with his new pet, especially after he makes a list of the duck's skills, including underwater swimming, flying, nest building, excellent at disguises, and can talk...rare, but not unheard of. Declaring the bird the perfect pet, Henry names the now-happy duck Spot. Roberton's line drawings have a palette of mostly of black and white, gray, and touches of green and yellow. They are very effective in conveying mood, action, and humor. The amusing text is placed in and among the illustrations for a seamless partnership between the two. An excellent tale about not getting what you thought you wanted but loving it anyway. Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH
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Roberton brings a delightful sophistication and a unique twist to the kid-wanting-a-pet theme. Henry wants a dog “more than chips, more than a cowboy costume, more than an all-expenses-paid trip to the moon, more, even than world peace itself.” He advertises for his perfect pet and waits. Enter a lonely, nameless duck that reads and responds to the ad. Donning a doggy disguise—complete with the waggy tail and floppy ears—the duck pleads his case to be Henry’s perfect pet and wins the boy’s heart. Very simple black-and-white cartoon-like drawings with just hints of color will win children’s hearts. The boy and the duck make for a winsome duo—pictures of the duck taking a bath and the boy blow-drying the duck’s feathers are irresistible. This wholly satisfying story with understated humor conveys the theme of friendship and is a perfect choice for storytime. It can also ignite discussions about problem solving and being open to the unexpected. Preschool-Grade 3. --Patricia Austin