________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 22 . . . . June 22, 2007

cover

Cheetah. (Orca Echoes).

Wendy A. Lewis. Illustrated by Graham Ross.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2007.
51 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55143-465-0.

Subject Heading:
Animals-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.

Review by Robert Groberman.

*** /4

excerpt:

Cheetah hopped right into the bowl of water. She floated like a bath toy. Mia clapped her hands.

“She loves it!”

“Now, what do you think she likes to eat?” Mom asked.

“I don’t know,” said Mia.

“Pizza’s good,” said Maggie.

“Frogs don’t eat pizza,” said Mia. “Frogs eat . . . bugs, I think.”

In Cheetah, Wendy Lewis introduces children to the familiar moral dilemma of taking a wild animal out of nature to keep it as a pet. Lewis’ main character, Mia, is in grade three or four.  While spending the afternoon with her father near a swamp, she discovers a leopard frog and is so enchanted she convinces her father to let her take it home, but he insists it is only for a week.

     During the week that Mia keeps her leopard frog, which she names “Cheetah,” the author has her character come up against the issues of providing the proper habitat, providing the proper food and providing the proper general care. Mia struggles to make a proper tank for Cheetah and is unsure of what to feed her. She takes her frog to school where she lets all of her classmates pet the frog. Through all of this, Cheetah declines in health, and Mia’s mother discovers that leopard frogs are “ . . . at risk. That’s almost like being endangered.”

     Graham Ross’ illustrations, which are black and white drawings, take up a full page of each 4 to 5 page chapter. They clearly illustrate the main event of the chapter and add to the reader’s understanding of the text.

     Mia and readers learn that, while it is exciting to make a pet out of a creature found in the wild, it is not a good idea. These creatures are difficult to care for and are probably in a far better place being left alone in their natural environment. 

Recommended.

Robert Groberman is a grade one and grade two teacher at Kirkbride Elementary School in Surrey, BC.

 

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

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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