“What Pet Should I Get?” tells the story of a brother and sister grappling with this fun question during a trip to the pet store. The manuscript and illustrations were discovered by Theodor Geisel’s (Dr. Seuss’s real name) widow at their home shortly after his death in 1991 and put aside. Two years ago, his widow and longtime secretary rediscovered them. Lucky for us.
The book features the siblings from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. Because that book was published in 1960, it is believed this story was written around the same time period. True to other Dr. Seuss books, the cover features familiar color schemes, artwork and lettering, so it’s instantly recognizable as one of the author’s creations. I wondered, though, would this new (old) book be as good as the others?
Not to worry. “What Pet Should I Get?” gives kids more of what they love about Dr. Seuss stories — short, snappy rhymes that together form a book that’s fun to read aloud.
The two siblings arrive at the shop after getting the okay from Dad: Dad said we could have one./Dad said he would pay./I went to the Pet Shop./I went there with Kay. There, they encounter not just the usual array of cats, dogs, birds and rabbits, but, of course, a bevy of imaginary creatures. This leads to the big question: What pet to get?
After trying to decide, and wondering if maybe they could bring home one of each, they arrive at a thought that pushes them to move forward: NO . . . Dad would be mad./We can only have one./If we do not choose,/we will end up with NONE.
As in some previous Dr. Seuss books, this one suggests a lesson; in this case, it’s make up your mind. But the message is not preachy; instead it is playfully incorporated into the story.
As a bonus, the back of the book features “Notes From The Publisher.” Here, with text and photos spanning several pages, we are treated to the back story of how the manuscript was found, Dr. Seuss’s creative process and interesting nuggets of information about the author. The notes, written in easy-to-read language, also mention how decades ago, pet shops were the common place to get an animal; here the publisher advocates adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue organization.
Your kids won’t care that this is a newly discovered book by a famous author. They’ll just care that they have this new book to read — and, likely, to read again and again.
But be warned: They just might decide that the two siblings in the book aren’t the only ones who want a new pet!
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