Thursday, September 15, 2016

It Takes All Kinds! Some Pets by Angela Di Terlizzi





There's a pet show in the park, and our pigtailed journalist, camera in hand, is off to photograph the whole event.

All the critters do their thing. Some hop, some crawl. Some don't do much at all. Some are quiet; some are squawky! Some are playful, and some are talky!

A hamster races around on his wheel, while horses just stand and munch in the field. Kittens just want to play, while dogs show off their "sit and stay."

There's a lot going on down in the park, with plenty of action--the focus of Angela Di Terlizzi's newly published Some Pets (Beach Lane Books, 2016). Di Terlizzi's rhythmic quatrains focus on verbs, action words which describe the varied behaviors of this assortment of animals. Verbs like slither and nuzzle expand the vocabulary of young readers, while pointing up the differences between these potential pets--fluffy, scaly, feathery, silly--underscore what it is that makes one a perfect best friend for just the right child. Which is the winner? Which is best in show? Wait till the end, and you'll soon know.

Brendan Wenzel's detailed cut-paper collage illustrations manage to control and corral the menagerie meaningfully within the pages, opening with a wide, double-page view of the whole scene and then zooming in on small vignettes of the vista, featuring each group of animals described in the author's verses. This is a picture book with plenty of possibilities as a read-aloud for a single child or a small group over a range of ages, from easy questions like "What is this pet?" to questions about vocabulary ("What animal do you see that slithers"? "Which one is being cuddled?)" or for sharing queries such as "Which pet is like your pet?" or "Which one would not be a good pet for you?" The author handily offers a helpful appendix with an illustrated glossary of the animals shown in the text, "What's That Pet?" which encourages individual kids to ponder and go back into the text to find each one.

Share and pair this one with its companion book by Di Terlizzi and Wenzel, Some Bugs (Classic Board Books). (See my 2014 review here).

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