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THE PET PROJECT by Lisa Wheeler


Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses

by Lisa Wheeler ; illustrated by Zachariah OHora

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4169-7595-3
Publisher: Atheneum

Let parents who find inspiration in this book think twice.

They may think they can use the collection as an example and tell their kids, “If you want a pet, you have to write a report, preferably in verse form, on which animal is the best choice.” Like the narrator, their children may decide they’d rather have a microscope instead of a real, live pet. So a note to parents: That trick almost never works. Kids will enjoy the poems for a completely different reason: They are funny. The section about farm animals has many, many jokes about poo. The pattern is always the same. The main character thinks she might like a cow or a chicken as a pet. Then it poops on her, or maybe kicks her or pecks at her instead. The later sections of the book are more inventive, and the jokes are concomitantly cleverer. The funniest, and shortest, poem is about a hippopotamus: “Chances of getting a hippo: / zippo.” OHora’s acrylics make sure kids get the jokes, engulfing the girl in smelly, green hippo breath and gleefully depicting both excrement and icky eating habits. The microscope may seem anticlimactic after she’s looked at hippos and monkeys, but her choice makes perfect sense. Parents will find it heartwarming, since it encourages an interest in science.

Children might prefer the hippo, but they’ll have fun reading the poop jokes out loud to their parents again and again

. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)