“A Pet For Miss Wright” by Judy Young and illustrated by Andrea Wesson is a colorful, quirky book about the difficulties of the writing process and the friendship that can develop between the right animal and a person.
Miss Wright is an author with a quaint Victorian house that looks out over a rocky beach and the ocean. Notwithstanding the beauty of her surroundings, Miss Wright finds writing to be a very lonely job; while the characters in her stories have adventures, she sits alone in a house that is silent except for the clicking of her keys. She decides that the solution to her problems is to acquire a pet. The man at the pet store recommends a mynah bird to break the silence, because “…they repeat everything they hear”. Unfortunately, the mynah bird only imitates the clicking of Miss Wright’s keys. She then embarks upon a series of failed attempts at finding the right pet: a monkey (too mischievous), a fish (too hypnotic) and a cat (too obstructionist and lazy). Sleep deprived and ready to give up, she tells the man at the pet store “No more pets”, but he prevails upon her to try one more animal: a dog. To her surprise, the dog simply wants to sit near her as she works, and she keeps him for “…another day. And another. And another.” Her new pet serves as muse and critic as well, communicating his feelings about her writing with a kiss (he likes it!) a howl (it’s funny!) or a request for a walk (time to go back to the drawing board). Eventually he helps her edit a manuscript which is selected for publishing. The book ends with Miss Wright working on a new book, sitting at her desk typing; “…that’s what authors do…it’s a lonely job…unless you have a dog”.
We did not originally have this book in our March queue, but our oldest discovered it at the library and liked it a lot – so we substituted it in and were not disappointed. We enjoyed the beautifully detailed pictures of Miss Wright’s house and the beach outside her home. The depiction of the writing process as long and difficult but ultimately rewarding was accurate based on what we’ve learned over at the Read Aloud Revival author events, and I hope it was inspiring to our own budding writer. We particularly appreciated the fact that a dog made the perfect pet (I don’t want to betray any biases, but “duh”).