CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 13 . . . . March 4, 2005
The table of contents for each book divides its contents into 14 sections with most sections occupying a single pair of facing pages.
As can be seen in the excerpt above, the opening section, “What are ...?”, explains what type of animal the pet is. This same section also provides a photograph of the targeted pet and labels its major body parts. Additionally, it offers a brief explanation of the pet’s history, sometimes including how it came to be domesticated.
As noted in the initial review of books in this series, the books’ second section is likely the books’ most important. The reader’s responses to its contents should be carefully evaluated before any pet is purchased because it asks the potential pet buyer a most crucial question: [Is this] “The right pet for you?” In addition to describing the qualities possessed by the particular pet (Rabbits are cute loving animals. It is fun to watch them hop around!), this section also sets out the general expectations of the owner: Caring for your rabbit can be a lot of work, though. Pet rabbits reply on people for food and exercise every day. You and your family will also have to groom, or clean your rabbit and clean its cage. The section concludes with a checklist that is modified for each pet type:
Assuming that the acquisition of a pet is still a “go,” the next section enlarges the choices available to the new pet owner by briefly describing some of the various breeds of the pet. For instance, “Plenty of ponies!” provides illustrations of four types of ponies, the Pinto, Baskir, Shetland and Haflinger, while “Goldfish breeds” reveals that there are over 100 breeds of goldfish, but they all belong to one of two types, ordinary or fancy goldfish. Two goldfish from each type are then illustrated.
The books’ fourth section describes the pets as babies and usually explains when they are old enough to leave their parents and be moved to new homes. This section also normally states when the pet is mature enough to begin to reproduce, a subtle warning to human parents who do not want their homes overrun by unexpected pet additions.
The fifth section offers advice on selecting a particular animal from a pet type. In addition to informing future pet owners in broad terms about where they might find a pet, places such as pet stores, or breeders, this section also notes whether or not the pet should be a solitary purchase. (A parakeet likes living with other parakeets. Two male parakeets or a male and a female will get along well. Do not keep two female parakeets together, though, as they will fight.) This section also has a most helpful checklist to help in selecting the right animal of that type.
Assuming that the decision has been made to purchase a pet, the sixth section focuses on “Getting Ready” and both enumerates and illustrates the typical supplies and equipment needed by the pet.
The following section expands either upon how to set up the cage, in the case of pets, like parakeets, that must be caged, or describes how to create a welcoming environment for those pets, such as ponies, which will need a stall and also some space in which they will be allowed to roam more freely.
Food become the focus of each book’s eighth section. A most important aspect of the information found here is a listing of what not to feed the specific pet. Never give your goldfish that is meant for another type of fish.
upon the pet, the next two sections consider topics such as daily
care or grooming, safe handling and training. As well, this portion
of the book provides practical suggestions on pet safely, such as
covering or removing all electrical wires before letting a rabbit
roam loose in a room.
The books’ penultimate section is concerned with keeping pet owners safe from their pets (A pony may bite if it is scared or hurt.) or with keeping the pet safe (Do not let your parakeet out of the cage when someone is cooking food on the stove. Your parakeet may burn itself by landing on the stovetop.).
The final section speaks to the need to have a veterinarian involved in your pet’s health, and this section also includes a useful pet specific checklist of warning signs which might indicate that the pet is ill.
Consistent with other Crabtree series, the volumes’ final page consists of a glossary those words that have been printed in bold face in the text plus a brief index.
The illustrations are predominantly coloured photographs with the occasional inclusion of artists’ renderings. The children shown interacting with the pets reflect the nation’s multicultural character and are of both genders.
This quartet of books in the “Pet Care” series provides a good starting point for children who are considering becoming pet owners. As individual purchases for home use or as additions to school and public libraries, these four volumes of “Pet Care” are recommended.
Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children’s and adolescent literature in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.