Tag Archives: pet care

Cats, Dogs, Baby Animals and Their Parents


The Cat Book
Silvia Borando
The Dog Book
Lorenzo Clerici
Walker Books
These two small pet manual Minibombo books, along with The Guinea Pig Book, now have a category all of their own ‘Paper Pets’. I’m no lover of furry creatures, especially cats and dogs, but I am an enthusiast where the Minibombo series is concerned and these two are full of interactive fun.
The former is all about keeping your cat ‘purrfectly’ happy from the moment he wakes up until he beds down for the night. That entails some flea squishing, behaving like a mini brolly when it rains, fluffing up – no not ruffling – and then smoothing, his fur; a spot of cheek squeezing bird releasing…


followed by a gentle behind-the-ears scratching; then Shhh! Sleep time.
Canine care is pretty much taped in The Dog Book. All that entails is a little back scratching (while he performs his down dog asana),


a spot of rebel rousing when he dozes off again, a belly rub, and  some rather intensive getting active training. Learning to respond appropriately to commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘fetch’ might well cause the odd challenge – to the trainer that is, but it’s all part and parcel of a dog’s day. Lorenzo Clerici adds his own brand of mischievous illustrative humour – including a blank page – to the series.


Xavier Deneux
Chronicle Books
This wonderfully playful, chunky board book is the latest addition to the Touch, Think Learn series. Two cute-looking birds meet, nest, mate and raise a family together. The fledglings eat, grow, and fly –eventually, to find their own tree…
Immersive fun with thick card removable pieces that can be taken from their places and moved to the recessed space on the opposite page to act out the narrative as an adult reads. (Or, a learner reader could enjoy its straightforward text as a solo experience). Either way, they’ll have lots of fun.


Baby Goz
Steve Weatherill
Steve Weatherill Books
If you’re looking for an ideal picture book for a beginning reader, then look no further, Goz, with its playful patterned language, is your ‘gosling’ so to speak. It’s great to see the little character has re-incubated; he’s certainly lost none of his charm. I’d actually forgotten his wonderful ‘Knock, knock! Who’s there?’ entry into the world; that made me smile all over again, as it has the countless beginner readers I’ve taught since Goz burst onto the scene over 25 years ago, and set off around the countryside …


in search of his mummy.


Safe & Sound
Jean Roussen and Loris Lora
Flying Eye Books
Many baby animals, (many, but not all) … / whether very, very big or very, very small … / would not be safe all on their own and need some help unil they’re grown.’ So begins this classy picture book account from a father and mother’s perspective, as they tuck their child safely into bed for the night. They talk of the ways numerous animals  mothers especially, protect their offspring, whether it be in an underground burrow like the little chipmunks, a nest like the bluebird, snuggled at the side of a mother lion, close to a rhino, grizzly cubs huddled in a warm den,


hiding inside their mother’s mouth as the crocodile hatchlings do, or …


riding between fluffy wings …

Reassuring, informative and told through Jean Roussen’s gentle rhyming text and stylishly snugglesome retro illustrations from Loris Lora, this is a winner as a bedtime book or in an early years setting.

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How to Look After Your Human


How To Look After Your Human
Kim Sears and Helen Hancocks
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Now I have to say at the outset that I’m no dog lover (having been attacked aged six, I think, by an Alsatian, I tend to beat a hasty retreat at the sight of any pooch); nor do I share the illustrator’s penchant for cats (they make me wheezy) and yes I did see the odd moggie lurking herein; but I felt drawn to this ‘A Dog’s Guide’ by the creatures posing on the back cover, in particular. That, and a great liking for Helen Hancocks’ previous books.
But let’s begin with the essentials: this is said to be written by ‘Maggie Mayhem’ so I can only assume that she’s a highly intelligent, literate canine. What she tells us is that she’s an eight-year old Border Terrier residing just outside London with brother Rusty, and that they own ‘two adorable humans plus an assortment of their extended family and friends.’ So, she should know; moreover so she claims ‘the terrier has a brain twice as large as a human.’ (This has not officially been verified, we’re told; so it appears, Maggie is honest to boot.)
Maggie has chosen to divide her instruction guide into eight chapters (plus the intro. that we’ve already mentioned). The first and possibly most important is How to Choose Your Human, which looks at the pros and cons of family life and living with an individual. Those unhappy with more than a little exercise should avoid certain types like these here …


Next topic for consideration is Communication, essentially body language and verbal communication, the latter being, so we’re told, a minefield on account of the ‘thousands of different noises (words) produced and the fact that they alter ‘the order, pitch, tone and volume every time.’
Training comes next, and this doesn’t mean merely toilet training. Making as much mess as possible is advocated ‘so your human knows exactly what’s expected of them.’ from the beginning.


The whole thing proceeds in similar dead pan vein through chapters on Nutrition, where the importance of keeping one eye on what you want the human to eat and the other firmly fixed on what you want them not to – what you want to eat yourself in other words. Of course polite humans operate a sharing is caring policy. This is followed by …


Grooming & Hygiene with hair being a focus here.


(Not sure I’d agree with the idea of imbibing liquid refreshment from the toilet bowl while supervising your human performing its ablutions, however.) But then I am writing from a human perspective here. Dress – human and canine is discussed in chapter 7 where the author confesses that sporting a designer mackintosh that matches her human is not something she approves of.
Maggie’s ten commandments account for the final chapter and the moggie portrayed here is a legitimate visitor – albeit as the subject of the 8th commandment – a general enemy warning.
Deliciously tongue in cheek – when not engaged thus …


the ‘author’ of this book had me in fits of giggles throughout. A must for all prospective pooch human carers as well as those humans in particular who have a penchant for Border Terriers, or really any breed whatsoever. In other words, if you’re getting a dog or already have one, don’t miss this.

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Dragon Dos and Don’ts

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Dare to Care: Pet Dragon
M.P.Robertson and Sally Symes
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Ever thought of keeping a dragon? It’s probably not top of your list of things to do. Nevertheless Robertson and Symes have compiled a spoofingly delicious manual on how to do just that. There are several considerations including how to dispose of the dung it will produce in profusion –

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before taking that dragon decision tying you together for life. Anatomy (you might want to skip the warty bit, ditto the ‘teeth’ bit, if you are at all squeamish), choice of breed and choice of egg come next – we’re advised that it’s best to begin with an egg and select one that your particular lifestyle most easily accommodates. And hatching can be extremely time consuming …

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Of course, once the thing finally does emerge you’ll need to know about handling, feeding and grooming. Each of these is given its own spread and I suggest reading them with great care: brussels sprouts are a definite no-no and curry’s inadvisable too. And, oh my goodness you’ll need a veritable troupe of tradespeople when it comes to grooming …

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It’s best to know about dealing with ailments in the unlikely event that your dragon falls sick, so that’s taken care of next, followed by exercise.
Now you may well have selected a dragon as companion for the aeronautical opportunities such a creature offers, so a term or two at flight school is a MUST and then, with license under your belt …

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This tongue-in-cheek treat is guaranteed to give you a good giggle, or rather, a whole lot of giggles. And, it’s the perfect picture book for those who claim to enjoy information texts rather than stories.

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Marmaduke the Very Popular Dragon
Rachel Valentine and Ed Eaves
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
In this, his second story, Marmaduke has become something of a celebrity, so much so that best friend, Meg, sees little of him. Never mind, thinks Meg, there’s the Whizz Cone Tournament coming up, the perfect thing for the best friends to do together. But then Marmaduke becomes even more elusive; surely he couldn’t have found another partner for the tournament could he? That certainly doesn’t look like Meg riding him to victory here …

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Then, come trophy presentation time, Marmaduke isn’t feeling as overjoyed as he ought to and what’s more, he can hear sobbing sounds in the distance. Off he goes to find Meg, offer his heartfelt apologies and make a promise that henceforward, he’ll never exclude her again. That’s the kind of promise best friends always try to keep …

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Fans of Marmaduke and Meg will welcome their return; and applaud Marmaduke for seeing the error of his ways and acting accordingly. Adult mediators of the story have a good starting point for a ‘what makes a good friend?’ discussion.

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