________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 40 . . . . June 14, 2013


The Big Pet Story. (Justin Time).

Brandon James Scott.
San Francisco, CA: Immedium, 2013.
36 pp., hardcover, $15.95 (US.)
ISBN 978-1-59702-041-1.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Claire Perrin.

***½ /4

Reviewed from f&g's.


The Big Pet Story is the second adventure in the "Justin Time" series, based on an episode of the animated TV series by the same name. Justin, the main character of The Big Pet Story, has a lively imagination and an adventurous spirit. In this adventure, Justin decides he would like to have a pet, but not just any pet. Justin wants the "biggest pet in the world". He and his imaginary friend Squidgy consider a number of different pets, each one larger than the previous one. Finally, they decide that the biggest and best pet would be an elephant. This is where the adventure begins.

internal art      Each "Justin Time" episode features a journey to another place and time. Ancient India forms the backdrop for The Big Pet Story. Justin and Squidgy are transported to another place and time in the wink of an eye although readers are not shown how this happens. Justin's friend Olive explains that she is the royal pet keeper and Justin is the Rajah. Olive introduces him to a huge pink elephant named Tiny. Olive proceeds to teach Justin and Squidgy the rules for taking care of a pet elephant.

Olive explains the rules.

Rule #1: Elephants need lots of playtime.

"To the royal playground!" shouts Squidgy.

The royal playground has a seesaw, a merry-go-round, and a slide. Everyone heads over to the seesaw first.

"Hey, Tiny, come play with us!" calls Justin. Tiny marches over to join them. She stomps her foot down and sends Squidgy flying into the air!

      Justin discovers that taking care of an elephant is much harder than he had imagined. Eventually they decide that Tiny would be better off in the palace zoo. After saying goodbye to Olive and Tiny, Justin and Squidgy magically return home with a sudden urge to go to the zoo.

      The storyline is somewhat less adventurous than The Pancake Express and focuses on the antics of trying to keep a pet elephant. The six rules of elephant care seem a little excessive although preschoolers will appreciate the humour involved with each situation.

      Brandon Scott is the creator, author and illustrator of the series. His lively pictures complement the story and add humour on every page. Scott does particularly well at showing feelings through the facial expressions on his characters.

      Books based on popular TV series are always a favourite for young children. The "Justin Time" books offer an interesting addition to any child's or school library.

Highly Recommended.

Claire Perrin is an elementary teacher with the Toronto District School Board.

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.