This 1994 Australian first chapter book is sure to win many hearts on this end of the Pacific Rim. Mr. and Mrs. Noah own an extraordinary pet shop called The Noahs’ Ark. Built with glass sails and a unicorn figurehead, it is full of ponies and lambs and cats and dogs. The Noahs long for grandchildren—a difficulty since they do not have children—but they love their animals and enjoy their own lives. Seven-year-old Sophie gazes longingly at The Noahs’ Ark from her apartment window. She hasn’t any cousins, and her parents are very busy with their work and her younger twin siblings. But for her seventh birthday, she asks her parents just to visit the pet shop, and off they go. Her dad’s allergic, but he enjoys being behind the scenes; her mom likes talking to someone other than the twins; and Sophie is nearly delirious with joy. Soon Sophie learns to cross the road herself—her mom watches from the window—and she becomes the Noahs’ assistant, helping to feed and care for all the pets until they find their own homes. The magic of getting what you wish for is told in graceful prose full of gentleness and whimsy; the beguiling line drawings are full of amusing details that invite closer scrutiny, especially as they work their way in and out of the text. Satisfying and most charming. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8050-6221-1

Page Count: 78

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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In epistolary dialogue with his mom, a lad yearning for an iguana tries various approaches, from logic and sweet talk to emotional blackmail. His mother puts up a valiant defense—“Dear Mom: Did you know that iguanas are really quiet and they’re cute too. I think they are much cuter than hamsters. Love, your adorable son, Alex.” “Dear Alex: Tarantulas are quiet too”—before ultimately capitulating. Catrow’s scribbly, lurid, purple-and-green illustrations bring the diverse visions of parent and child to hilarious life, as a lizard of decidedly indeterminate ancestry grows in stages to the size of a horse, all the while exhibiting a doglike affection toward its balloon-headed prospective keeper—who is last seen posed by a new terrarium, pumping a fist in victory. A familiar domestic interchange, played out with broad comedy—and mutual respect, too. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-399-23717-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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One of a four-book series designed to help the very young prepare for new siblings, this title presents a toddler-and-mother pair (the latter heavily pregnant) as they read about new babies, sort hand-me-downs, buy new toys, visit the obstetrician and the sonographer, speculate and wait. Throughout, the child asks questions and makes exclamations with complete enthusiasm: “How big is the baby? What does it eat? I felt it move! Is it a boy or girl?” Fuller’s jolly pictures present a biracial family that thoroughly enjoys every moment together. It’s a bit oversimplified, but no one can complain about the positive message it conveys, appropriately, to its baby and toddler audience. The other titles in the New Baby series are My New Baby (ISBN: 978-1-84643-276-7), Look at Me! (ISBN: 978-1-84643-278-1) and You and Me (ISBN: 978-1-84643-277-4). (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84643-275-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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