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Thursday, August 6, 2015

It's Here! The New Dr. Seuss Book

What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss.  July 28, 2015.  Random House for Young Readers.  48 pages.  Ages 3-7.

Unfortunately this came out just after I did my pet storytime, although truthfully at 48 pages it would probably be too long for my crowd anyway.

In this story a brother and sister are going to the pet store to get a new pet.  However, their mom wants them back home by noon, so they have to make a decision quickly.  First they think the decision is simple, dog or cat.  But wait, maybe they want a puppy or kitten?

But as they look around the realize there are many different kinds of pets.  Birds, bunnies, fish....how do they choose?  Their considerations then begin to evolve from the usual pets to the more exotic.  So many choices, and they must decide soon, their mother wants them home before noon! 

In the end, they finally decide on a pet, but the reader is left in the dark as to what they finally choose, only seeing them carrying a covered basket out of the store with two eyes peeking out.

I'm a sucker for Seuss, so of course I liked this book with it's classic Seussian rhyme and illustrations.  I know some people don't agree with posthumous publications, but after reading the history at the end of the book, I'm convinced this was a true Seuss manuscript and was close enough to being finished.  The end of the book provides some history and context to the story, including pictures of Dr. Seuss with some of the pets he had over the years.  It explains how the manuscript was found, and had complete black & white drawings, with small pieces of paper containing the typed text taped to the drawing to show how Seuss wanted it placed.  The only thing lacking was instructions regarding how he wanted the illustrations colored.  It describes how they analyzed the drawings to determine the approximate time period it was written, and believed that is was between an earlier period when Seuss used only primary colors and a later period when he used a much wider and more varied color palette.  Therefore, the editors chose a color palette that bridged the gap between the two styles, using mostly primary colors for the backgrounds, but using some blended colors for the characters.

While I wouldn't say it's a must-read, I did enjoy it and feel other Seuss fans will too.  It would be especially good for children whose families are considering getting a pet and discussing what kind of a pet they want to have.  At 48 pages it would probably be a little long for a preschool storytime, but it should work well for 5-6 year-olds and could spark a discussion about what pet they think the kids in the book ended up choosing, or what pet would *they* choose if it were them.

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