________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 8. . . .October 23, 2009


Mad About Perfect Puppies and Cute Kittens.

Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2009.
20 pp., pbk., $4.99.
ISBN 978-0-545-98017-3.

Subject Headings:
Puppies-Jevenile literature.
Kittens-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Devon Greyson.

** /4



Puppies make some of our cutest pets because they are all so different! Whether they are big, small, smart, or strong, they always have their own personality!

Mad about puppies When Poodles are given a “pom-pom” haircut, it makes them better swimmers! It makes them lighter, but still keeps them warm.

Mad About Perfect Puppies and Cute Kittens from Scholastic's “Mad About” series features a series of two-page spreads, each highlighting a sweet personality attribute of either kittens or puppies. These range from “Sleepy kittens” to “Friendly puppies.” Each page features full colour photographs of adorable pets, a few descriptive sentences, and some related fun facts that are often more breed-specific. Key words are bolded on each page, and body parts of the featured animal photo, such as “ear” and “paw,” are labeled with arrows.

     Mad About Perfect Puppies and Cute Kittens resists the temptation to become too pink or pastel, remaining fairly gender-neutral, although the result is an inconsistent colour scheme throughout the book. The photo images of the various breeds of cats and dogs are bright and clear. The fun yet easy-to-discern font is large and set against contrasting colour blocks. The level of this book is appropriate to read or skim aloud to preschoolers or for beginning readers to work through on their own.

     At the end of the book are two activity pages: a “Guess who?” review game and a hidden pictures/counting game. “Guess who?” shows a closeup of part of a puppy or kitten featured in the fun facts, gives a hint as to which one it is, and prompts the reader to guess whether the example refers to a kitten or a puppy. Similar to the labeled body parts, this exercise seems very simplistic and geared toward the very youngest children able to sit still for a book. The “Playful pets” hidden pictures activity instructs the reader to search a cartoon scene to find “hidden” photos of kittens and puppies. This could be a nice counting exercise for preschoolers although the cartoon illustration style of this activity does not match the other photographic illustrations in the book.

     I would hesitate to purchase this book for a classroom or library unless no similar nonfiction books are suitable. It appears to be aimed at the home, mass paperback market, and thus it’s not likely to hold up to much abuse or heavy handling. Further, the “Mad About” books do not contain all the traditional parts of a book teachers and librarians teach about – for instance there is no author or illustrator attribution anywhere on the book, and typical title page verso information appears only in very abbreviated form on the back cover.

    Overall, Mad About Perfect Puppies and Cute Kittens is an adequate, and reasonably attractive, little book about kittens and puppies that will likely be enjoyed by a child who has or wants a furry pet. The production values are not especially high as it is designed to be almost disposable in nature. However, on that note, it may be a good value for cost, and so if you are shopping with a limited budget and need some eye-catching preschool-aimed nonfiction, this may be an appropriate choice for your collection.

Recommended with reservations.

Devon Greyson is a librarian at the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research in Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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