Unusual Pets

Some Unusual Pets by Susan Fry

As everyone knows, there are cat people and there are dog people.  I fall firmly into the cat camp.  While dogs can be adorable, there’s just something about the drooling, the jumping, and the wet-doggy smell that makes me cringe.

Unfortunately, my husband is so allergic to cats that his nose runs at the slightest “meow.”  So we find ourselves debating the merits of the less common animals, such as skunks, snakes, guinea pigs, and ferrets.  Or perhaps we should consider something even more exotic, like one of the pets in the books below . . . .

While We Were Out, by Ho Baek Lee.  When a family goes away overnight, their pet rabbit makes herself at home in their apartment.  Behaving just like a human child, she fixes herself a snack, watches a movie, and even tries on mommy’s lipstick.  Best of all, the rabbit shows her enterprising personality by figuring out how to race around on skates that are far too big for her:  by propelling herself with chopsticks.  But though she thinks the family will never know about her adventures, kids will giggle at the traces she’s left behind.  Little rabbit pellets dot every page!  The soft colors and lines bring the rabbit’s cuddly nature to life.

The Egg, by M. P. Robertson.   Robertson explores the parallels between pet ownership and parenting in this realistically illustrated book about every child’s fantasy.  George finds a gigantic egg and adopts it, carrying it to his warm bedroom and reading it stories.  When the egg hatches, the dragon that emerges calls George “Mommy.”  George doesn’t blink an eye, either at his new responsibility or at the gender confusion. “George had never been a mother before, but he knew that it was his motherly duty to teach the dragon dragony ways.”  Over the following enchanting pages, George teaches the dragon to fly, to breathe fire, and to fight a knight.  But when the dragon misses his own kind, George learns the hardest lesson of all:  having to let his “child” go.  Luckily, the dragon comes back for a visit, and he even returns again in a sequel, The Dragon Snatcher.

Hieronymus Betts and His Unusual Pets, by M.P. Robertson.  Robertson again strikes literary gold with this hilarious parade of a little boy’s unusual pets, each one more disgusting, dangerous, and wittily named than the last.  The slugapotamus oozes slime, the porcupython sprouts prickles, and the grizzly hare growls.  But no matter how slimy, noisy, or smelly the animal may be, Hieronymus knows of something even slimier, noisier, or smellier . . . Hieronymus’ own little brother.  Before siblings can get peeved, however, Hieronymus points out that even though his brother is “smellier than a bog hog and stranger than a whatchamacallit . . . he’s more fun than any pet could ever be.”

Susan Fry is a writer and mother in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s written for Stanford Magazine, salon, the San Jose Mercury News, and many other publications.

You can check out the Sweet Peas & Stilettos’ children’s books page for quick access to all of Susan’s wonderful children’s book reviews.

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