Bringing Home A New Pet This Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday! Today’s story from me, as well as the book I’m sharing, are about the joys of bringing home a new pet.

One of the pets in my little zoo came to live with me because he desperately needed rescuing. I remember the day I walked around the pet shop, greeting the fish, having a stare-down with a lizard, and watching the tree frogs play leapfrog. As I passed a row of terrariums, a rhythmic clunk-clunk-clunk caught all of my attention. I kneeled down and peered under a shelf at a seemingly forgotten terrarium. Inside, a tortoise was desperately trying to climb out. He placed his front feet on the glass where they slid down with a clunk–again and again and again.

I reached back and pulled out his terrarium. His water bowl contained a thin layer of brown film. A half-inch scrap of wilted lettuce poked out from under a piece of bark. A layer of crust rimmed the tortoise’s half-shut eyes.

I called the manager over and showed him the tortoise who needed and deserved care.

“He’s sick.” The manager shrugged. “When he gets better, he’ll be for sale.”

“He’ll never get better with the kind of care he’s getting here,” I said. “I want to buy him and bring him home today.”

“You can buy him when he’s better,” the manager said. “I’ll sell him to you for $100.”

I looked the manager in the eyes, I didn’t smile, and I didn’t blink when I said, “I’m going to pay you $150, and I’m taking him home today.”

Our staredown lasted for a long moment before the manager gave me a quick nod.

With a large, clean terrarium, a dish filled with fresh water, a fistful of crisp kale, and a whole lot of love, my tortoise grew healthy and happy.  And my animal rescue story brings me to today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday selection about a boy named Bruno and the guinea pig he brings home from the pet shop one day.

Title –  Bruno and Titch: A Tale of a Boy and His Guinea Pig

Author and Illustrator– Sheena Dempsey

Published by – Candlewick Press – 2014

Suitable for ages – 4 to 8

Topics – New pet, friendship

Opening –   I’ve been waiting three human weeks for a Big Person to come and bring me home. In guinea-pig time, that’s almost a year. Which is a VERY long time to wait. No matter how hard I try (and I try R-E-A-L-L-Y hard)… the Big People always choose some other guinea pig instead.

Amazon Review HERE. As the only guinea pig left in Mrs. Pinkerley’s pet shop, Titch is getting lonely and anxious. All he wants is his very own Big Person. Then one day a boy named Bruno comes into the shop looking for the perfect pet. Their eyes meet, and Titch has a home at last! There’s just one problem: Bruno loves to play and invent wild games and make big messes (and eat sticky pancakes). As for Titch, well, he prefers the quiet life — a nice nap, a plate of salad leaves. Will they find a way to make their friendship work, or will Titch end up back where he started, in the pet shop? Sheena Dempsey offers a contemporary and comical take on new pets — and new friends.

Why do I like this book? Frankly, any story about the adoption and good care of an animal wins my heart. In this story, Bruno not only gives Titch, his guinea pig, a good home, tasty food, and a cozy bed for sleep, but he takes his love for his new pet one step further and builds him a… Oh, wait! I can’t tell you what Bruno builds for Titch, that would give away the best part of this story. I hope you’ll check out this book and read it to find out for yourself.

Learn more about Sheena Dempsey HERE.

Until next Friday.

Simon’s New Bed – A Story of Sharing and Friendship Today at Perfect Picture Book Friday!

We adopted our dog, Max, about eight years ago. Of all the dogs at the rescue shelter, he was the most desperate to be loved because he had been adopted and returned six times.

The second he saw my daughter and me, he walked up to us and poured out his love with a million, hope-filled, dog kisses. I’ll never forget that day. I cradled Max in my arms like a baby and rubbed his belly while my daughter planted kisses all over his warm head and twiddled his ears. Max was the missing puzzle piece in our family picture.

We gave Max his own dog bed to snuggle into, his very own bowls for water and food, a blanket, and toys. Some years passed, and we decided to add more pets to our family. A budgie, a cockatiel, a dozen fish, one tortoise, and some treefrogs. With each new pet, Max worried he would have to make it through each day with less than ALL of our love. At times he’d turn his back to us and give us the silent treatment. Other days, he’d bark at the birds to show them who’s boss, He sniffed the tortoise and sneezed on its shell, he snubbed the fish and frogs. But… over time, Max learned to share his home with our little zoo. Which brings me to today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review in which learning to share leads to friendship.

Simon's New Bed by [Trimmer, Christian]

Title –  Simon’s New Bed

Author – Christian Trimmer

Illustrator – Melissa van der Paardt

Published by – Atheneum Books for Young Readers – 2015

Suitable for ages – 4 to 8

Topics – Sharing and friendship

Opening – What do you think of your new bed, Simon? You like it?

Bark! Bark!

Okay, Simon. Let’s go for a walk. You can try out your new bed when we get back!

Amazon Review  HERE. Simon’s new dog bed has been claimed by…a cat?! Laughter, scheming, and cuddles ensue in this fun naptime tale you’ll want to share, from debut author Christian Trimmer and illustrator Melissa van der Paardt.

Simon’s been looking forward to trying out his brand-new dog bed all day. He may be ready for the best nap of his life, but Miss Adora Belle the cat has other ideas. She’s taken over his bed before he even gets a chance to try it—and she’s not budging. As Simon struggles to find a way to free his bed for the Greatest Naptime Ever, he may just discover something wonderful about his new bed: there’s plenty of room for two.

Learn more about Christian Trimmer HERE.

Learn more about Melissa van der Paardt and this book HERE.

Video tutorial for a no-sew pet bed HERE.

Until next Friday.

What Happened to Baby Bear? Find out This Perfect Picture Book Friday.

When I was about five years old, I received a red, plastic slide viewer as a present that, through ten picture slides each, told various fairy tales. Goldilocks was one of the stories that came with the set (which I’ve kept over the years). The stories I could watch included Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and The Three Little Pigs. Thinking back, I sometimes wondered what happened AFTER the story ended. My mom or dad would say, “They lived happily ever after.” as if that summed up the rest of Cinderella’s life with a  handsome guy who was willing to marry any girl whose foot fit the shoe.

And what happened to the three little pigs? Having ended the wolf’s life when it crashed down their hot chimney, did they ever encounter any members of that wolf’s family that were suitably ticked off?  If so… I doubt they lived happily ever after. Just saying.

And after Goldilocks fled from the three bears, did she tell anyone about the day she entered someone’s house, sampled their food, cracked a chair, and unmade a few beds?

And… what happened to the bears? Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review shares the story of what happened many, many years later.

Title –  Goldilocks and Just One Bear

Author and illustrator – Leigh Hodgkinson

Published by – Nosy Crow – 2011

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Topics – Fractured fairy tales and friendship

Opening – Once upon a time, there was this bear. One minute, he was strolling in the woods, all happy-go-lucky… The next minute, he didn’t have a crumb-of-a-clue where he was. He was one completely lost bear.

Amazon Review  HERE. In this award-winning author/illustrator’s witty sequel to the traditional Goldilocks story, Little Bear is all grown up and Goldilocks is a distant memory. One day, Little Bear wanders out of the woods and finds himself lost in the Big City. Will he find the city too noisy? Too quiet? Or just right? And what are the chances of him bumping into someone who remembers exactly how he likes his porridge?

Why I like this book—  Humor lies every which way in this romping continuation of Goldilocks. Surprising expressions like…

He didn’t have a crumb-of-a-clue.


“Somebody has been eating from my fishbowl!”

delight at every page turn. Then… top this off with illustrations that team playfulness with positively vivid colors to give them huge kid-appeal. And the ending of this book comes with the biggest and ‘bestest’ surprise!  What more can I say to inspire you to run (don’t walk) to your nearest library or bookstore to grab up a copy of this rollicking picture book?

Learn more about Leigh Hodgkinson HERE.

Until next Friday.

There’s Room for Two this Perfect Picture Book Friday!

At the end of a long day of writing, editing, laundry, grocery shopping, feeding my zoo, giving homework help, paying bills, and making three meals plus a batch of biscotti, I’m understandably tired. It’s nine o’clock, and a familiar movie is playing on TV. My husband is camped out in his recliner, probably playing chess on his cell phone. Across the room, my daughter is zen tangling in her sketchbook. At the far end of the sofa, our snoring dog is making his nap look awfully, awfully good! Too good.

I lean back, just a little, to rest my head. Then, I slide down. Before long, I tilt over and stretch my legs. Soon, I’m drifting.

“Scootch in a little, Mom,” my daughter says, rubbing my shoulder.

My eyes still closed, I say, “The sofa isn’t wide enough for two. Why don’t you camp out on the loveseat?”

“Because I want to camp here with you,” she says.

I’m unable to resist the sweetness in her voice.

I scootch up against the back of the sofa, she squirms to find a comfy place beside me, and somehow, we wake up two hours later from a perfectly cozy nap.

I’m glad our sofa is big enough for two, which leads me to today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review…

Title –  Just Right for Two

Author – Tracey Corderoy

Illustrator – Rosalind Beardshaw

Published by – Nosy Crow – 2013

Suitable for ages – 3-5 (but I’m pretty sure people of all ages will love this book.)

Topics – Friendship

Opening – Dog had a big blue suitcase. He took it with him everywhere. Inside were all his special things… a bumpy little pinecone, a smooth rock with a hole in it, some dancing leaves,…

Amazon Review  HERE.  Dog has everything he needs in his big blue suitcase. Or does he?  Dog’s big blue suitcase is the perfect fit for all the little treasures he has collected. He is sure that he is happy with just himself and his suitcase. Until one night when Mouse comes along, and Dog discovers that his big blue suitcase is actually just right for two.

Why I like this book—  I love all things precious, and this book falls neatly into that category. Take one adorable dog with a treasure-packed suitcase, add to this a free-spirited mouse who recognizes the perfect place to squeeze in for a nap when he sees it, and you’ve got the makings of a lasting friendship. Now… team up one great writer with the artistic talents of  Rosalind Beardshaw, whose gift for capturing emotions is evident on every page, and… what more can I say?

Tracey Corderoy shares the inspiration behind her book, Just Right for Two, HERE.

Learn more about Rosalind Beardshaw HERE.

Listen to a precious reading of this book HERE.

Until next Friday.