Lunch Lady #4 and #5: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Growing Bookworms Newsletter: June 14

Prudence Wants a Pet: Cathleen Daly

Book: Prudence Wants a Pet
Author: Cathleen Daly
Illustrator: Stephen Michael King
Pages: 32
Age Range: 4 to 8

9781596434684 Prudence Wants a Pet is an upcoming picture book written by Cathleen Daly and illustrated by Stephen Michael King. As is evident from title, it's about a girl named Prudence who really, really wants a pet. When her parents say no, Prudence tries out a series of unconventional pets, like shoes and car tires. No surprisingly, these pets are unsatisfactory. But it all turns out ok in the end.

On one level, this is a fairly simple book about a child who stands up for what she wants. What makes Prudence Wants a Pet special is Daly's quirky humor, delivered in a matter-of-fact manner. Like this:

"Prudence finds a new pet.
It is her brother.
His name is Milo.
She puts Milo in a box with some water."


Mr. Round is getting harder to roll. And to carry.
Mr. Round is big. Prudence is small.
Mr. Round finds a new home in the vacant lot.
He will have friends there."

I challenge you not to laugh at the rejected spare tire finding friends in the vacant lot. And the little brother sitting in a box being fed and watered. Daly's tone is perfect. The reader feels empathy for Prudence, but in a non-mawkish way. The ending is completely satisfying.

King's illustrations help a lot, too. Many of the pages consist of small vignettes. For example, the above section about Milo is shown as four separate sketches of Prudence and Milo, all on the same page. All of the sketches are simple line drawings, with just a hint of color. They look a bit like lightly colorized New Yorker cartoons. Only more kid-friendly. Prudence's mood is conveyed through her expression and her posture - from hopeful to determined to hopelessly dejected.

Prudence Wants a Pet is a fun read for kids and parents alike. Pair it with Bob Staake's Mary Had A Little Lamp for double the fun. This is one that I reviewed from the advanced copy, and will want to pick up in hardcover when it's available. Highly recommended for the early elementary school set.

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (@MacKidsBooks)
Publication Date: June 21, 2011
Source of Book: Advanced review copy from the author. Quotes should be compared with the final book.

© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission on purchases (with no additional cost to you).