Picture Book Love #2: Celebrating picture books that are just too good not to gush over.
Okay start counting how many books you have read about a child who really wants a pet and the parents say no. No, it’s too much work. No, you won’t look after it. No, we don’t have time, space, energy . . . I can think of many. So how can another book on this theme really seem fresh, new, inspired? Prudence Wants a Pet written by Cathleen Daly and illustrated by Stephen Michael King will sweep you off your feet. This book is simply about the determination and charisma of Prudence. And yes, her extreme and unrelenting desire for a pet! I dare you not to adore her!
Prudence really wants a pet but her parents roll out those typical parent excuses. So she is left to her own devices. She gets a pet and names it Branch. Because, well, it is a branch. It lives on the front porch and after tripping up Dad eight times, Branch ended up in little pieces on top of the wood pile. Prudence gets a new pet named Twig (because yes, you guessed it Twig is a twig). Twig is too small and gets lost. So Prudence moves on. She attaches a leash to an old shoe, which just so happens to be her new pet named Formal Footwear. Really! Then Prudence tries making her little brother Milo a pet but things don’t go over very well with her parents when she feeds him seeds and grass. So on to bigger and better things! A car tire. Just try to keep a straight face! Finally following an extremely disappointing attempt to raise sea buddies after which Prudence retires to her closet, her parents consider an actual pet for her.
At this point, this book is poised to deliver an expected, typical, wrap it up happy ending. But no, this is where Prudence hooked me. Where I swooned. Completely done for. Prudence was so excited when she heard a “Mew” coming from the box her parents gave her that . . .
Her eyes got hot and tingly. She’s so happy it leaks out of her eyes a little. She didn’t know about those kinds of tears.
Seriously? Wow. Tell me you don’t need this book. It is so much more than a “Girl wants Pet. She begs and begs. Girl gets pet,” kind of story. It is Prudence.