Day 121 – The Pet Project

If you’re the type that oohs and aahs
at furry faces, precious paws,
the words ahead may be alarming:
Animals aren’t always charming

So reads the disclaimer at the beginning of “The Pet Project” by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Zacharia O’Hara. It is a clever and captivating collection of cautionary compositions about picking the perfect pet. With heaps of humor from the rhythmic, rhyming prose and the witty, whimsical illustrations, “The Pet Project” is read-aloud gold!

projectThe book centers on a young girl who asks her professorial parents for a pet. Responding to her request, mom and dad recommend research, advising our protagonist:
“Research, child is not a joke…Formulate a query…slowly plan your bestiary“. If their plan is to convince their daughter that she doesn’t need a pet, then it comes off (almost) perfectly. After working her way diligently through farm animals, woodland creatures, zoo beasties, and more traditional pets, and finding issues with each selection, our heroine arrives at the conclusion that her ideal pets may actually be…protozoa?

I had a lot of fun reading this book aloud. The rhythm varies from poem to poem, and the rhymes are clever. Some of the less desirable characteristics of the potential pets are also sure to get a giggle from younger listeners (the dove poops on her glasses, the cow lays a stinky pie at her feet, and the hippo has a horrible case of halitosis, etc.). Laid out like a field guide, the book is full of hand-written notes and comments in the margins that add to the humor (bonus: even the comments in the insets rhyme!). And then there are the expressive and engaging illustrations (if the gross-outs in the poems don’t get a giggle, the accompanying pictures surely will).

We are sad to leave National Poetry Month behind as we head into May…but I can confidently claim that we thoroughly enjoyed the month right down to the very last read-aloud word of “The Pet Project”!


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