HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Perfect Pet
Author and Illustrator: Samantha Bell
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1607186212 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1607186217 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-1607186335 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1607186330 (Paperback)
Related websites: http://www.ssamanthabellbooks.com (author), http://www.SylvanDellPublishing.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 5-9
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Bell, Samantha. The Perfect Pet (published in 2013 by Sylvan Dell Publishing, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464). Do you have a pet? If so, what kind is it? If not, would you like one, and what sort would you prefer? After being begged for a pet, a child’s mother finally says, “Yes.” The child begins choosing with the kingdom Animalia. After considering a jellyfish, they decide that invertebrates are out and search through phylum Chordata., but no reptiles, amphibians, fish, or birds. They narrow it down to the class Mammalia, the order Carnivora (but not a tiger!), and the family Canidae. They look at Canis lupus familiaris. What is that? What do they select? And when the child finds out how much work is involved, is there another kingdom from which to choose something that doesn’t require as much effort?
This humorous story in rhyme is nicely illustrated by author Samantha Bell with colorful drawings of many different animals and accomplishes a couple of beneficial goals. First, it introduces children to the general idea of animal classification with kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species (when I was in seventh grade, our mnemonic device for remembering this was “Killer Pat Can Out Fight Giant Sam”), and to the main classes of vertebrates. Second, it emphasizes that with any pet come regular responsibilities that must be fulfilled. The four pages of “For Creative Minds” learning activities in the back of the book and the additional free activities online at the publisher’s website make this a great complement to both science and social studies lessons in either the classroom or homeschool.