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The Perfect Pet    by Margie Palatini & Bruce Whatley order for
Perfect Pet
by Margie Palatini
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I enjoyed the family dilemma in The Perfect Pet as we faced it ourselves a few years ago, with a much less satisfactory conclusion. You see, 'Elizabeth really, really, really wanted a pet' and of course her parents just as 'really, really, really' didn't. The first image of Elizabeth lets the reader know that mom and dad are in deep trouble. She looks strong and determined; she trails stuffed animals, and even walks in doggy slippers.

Though the substitute that she is given, Carolyn the Cactus, has a prickly sense of humor, Elizabeth still really wants a real pet. Her plan involves surprise, catching her parents off guard, and generally being relentless. Bruce Whatley's illustrations do a wonderful (and funny) job of conveying her persistence and horrified parental reactions. When requests for a horse, a dog, a cat, and so on, fail, Elizabeth comes up with her own innovative solution for the perfect pet and sells it to her parents. This kid is clearly going places!

The Perfect Pet takes a hilarious look at a typical tussle of wills between parents and offspring, with a most untypical compromise of a conclusion.

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