Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book #145: Extraordinary Pets by Barroux

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Everyone knows that cats and dogs, birds and fish are great pets, but what if you could have a “one-of-a-kind, unique as can be, fantastic superb, EXTRAORDINARY” pet? The kids in this book imagine the benefits of having a trumpeting elephant instead of a quiet cat, a snake that slithers instead of a dog that merely walks, or a chomping alligator instead of a chirping bird. Traditional pets may be cute and cuddly, but in this book extraordinary pets triumph.

The rhythmic, but not rhyming, text is minimal, yet playful. Each two page spread features a child holding the leash to an ordinary animal, but when you open the flap an extraordinary animal is revealed. The clever illustrations have a homemade, scrapbook feel to them; you can see the paint brush strokes and pencil scribbles. At the same time, there’s a polished, graphic design atmosphere to the drawings as well. It’s clear that Barroux has put a lot of thought into each illustration, most noticeable in the costumes the children wear. Each costume is a clue to the extraordinary pet under the flap.

After reading the book, ask the kids what kind of extraordinary pet they would choose. Have the kids illustrate their dream pet and write a few sentences explaining their choice.

Use this book for a pet themed storytime and try out the rhyme, Can You? You could also sing How Much is that Doggy in the Window? Change the lyrics to sing about some of the extraordinary pets in the book. For instance, you could sing about the alligator in the window, the one with the shiny white teeth.Or the octopus with the eight tentacles.


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