Not That Pet!

Not That Pet!
Smriti Halls and Rosalind Beardshaw
Walker Books

Mabel is super excited: her family is getting a pet and she’s allowed to choose it from the pet shop she visits along with her mum and little brother. Her choice is – wait for it – an elephant! He’s a splendid hugger, gives terrific rides, makes a super slide and is really useful when it comes to watering the plants and pulling up weeds. However, he also tramples on all the family’s fruit and worst of all, sits on Mabel’s mum. “Not that pet!” comes the cry, “Choose something smaller!” And Mabel obligingly does so.

The elephant is replaced by ants, lots of them and they march through the house eventually finding their way into Dad’s underpants – yikes! You can guess what his instant reaction is, followed by instructions to choose something they can all see.

And so it continues with a skunk, a snake, a spider,

worms and several others. Poor pet shop Pete: will he ever deliver something that satisfies everyone. Eventually, close to giving up Mabel has a good think and what she thinks is ‘I just need to pick something furry and sweet … something friendly that everyone likes.’ Now what could that possibly be? It’s definitely not what you’d expect.

The final reveal will surely come as a surprise to readers and listeners. I love a fun final twist and this book certainly has that and much more. Smriti’s rhyming narrative reads aloud well and is huge fun and Rosalind Beardshaw’s illustrations are full of details to explore and giggle over, not least the bathroom scene and that of the visitors to Dad’s underpants, Make sure you watch the antics of Mabel’s little brother too: he’s a real cutie. Altogether a smashing storytime winner methinks, and one sure to get children talking.

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