Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Picture Book: The Best Pet Ever by Victoria Roberts

The Best Pet EverSummary of The Best Pet Ever:  
This little girl REALLY wants a pet!  As a she walks by the pet store window with her mother, she fervently questions:

Mom, can I have a pet?
Mom. Mom, can I?
Can I have a pet?

Her mom replies, “We’ll see.”  The spunky protagonist gets creative!  First, she sees a rock, a smooth rock.  She ties a string on the rock and calls it Fluffy.   The girl walks it and trains it, but then there is an unfortunate accident.  Once again, she pleads with her mother for a pet, receiving the same response as before.   After getting creative with a soft, wooly glove and shiny candy wrapper, she latches on to a round balloon named Bruce.  Petting, hugging, and playing with it fills her with joy.  She declares that Bruce is the best pet ever—until it pops!   Not to worry, there is a cardboard box waiting for her…

Deborah Allwright’s animated and bright pictures are engaging.  They reveal the level of commitment the protagonist has for a pet and her enormous imaginative spirit.  Victoria Roberts’ amusing and winning text is terrific for reading out loud.  Children will enjoy reciting the reoccurring set of questions (see excerpt above). The little girl illustrates several positive character qualities.  For instance, she proves her responsibility and commitment in her own unique way as she patiently waits for her mother's decision.  The Best Pet Ever is ideal for ages 4-8. 

Teaching Opportunities: 
§  Pets.  It opens up an opportunity to discuss the care and the responsibility of pets.  Also, children can draw, write, or share about their family pets.
§  Art/Imaginative Play.  Children can create their own pets from everyday items and practice taking care of them. 
§  Parts of Speech.  Teach about descriptive words (adjectives).   Whenever a new item is fixed on in the book, the girl identifies it and then restates it with an adjective (“box, a cardboard box").  List words from the book or other common nouns.  Allow students to brainstorm describing words or match describing words from a list to each noun. 
§  Predicting Skills.  After each “day or two” phase, prompt students to predict what her next pet will be, the name of it, and/or how she might care for it.  Then, ask the students what type of pet owner they think the little girl will be and why. 
§  Sequence of Events:  Give students, individually or in small groups, a set of cards with pictures or words representing each of the creative pets from the story.   Instruct them to put the cards in order that they occurred in the story.  Encourage older students to recall facts from the story associate with each pet—name, how she cared for it, and/or what happened to it. 
§  Character.  Discuss the positive qualities of the protagonist—imaginative, caring, responsible, optimistic, and so forth. 
§  Writing.  Filling the following sentence:  “ ____ is the best pet ever because _____.”

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  1. Thanks for this great review of The Best Pet Ever. I love your Teaching Opportunities feature. We actually are developing a teaching guide for this book which will be available on our website shortly.
    Happy Reading,
    Elizabeth Bennett

  2. Good Post! Very informative, glad that you are going to continue writing things like this!

    Child Care Centres Victoria


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