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As a parent and a 1st grade teacher, I’m a huge fan of Dr. Seuss. I could not wait for the release of his new book, What Pet Should I Get? And I am delighted to say it was worth the wait!
From the front cover of The New York Times Book Review to a review by a Dartmouth College English professor, Dr. Seuss’ new book is being hailed as “an instant classic” and “will remind us, delightfully, that Dr. Seuss, over half a century ago, made learning to read an adventure.”
This long-anticipated book, released by Random House on July 28, 2015, follows the same two siblings that first appeared in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. This brother-and-sister team is on a quest to find a single pet. He likes a dog, she likes a cat. The first decision they face seems easy; a dog or a cat? Then Kay says, “Now what should we do? Dad said to pick one, we cannot take home two.”
As the children find more attractive animals, their decision becomes more complicated...a bird that sings, a rabbit, a fish. Their process is compounded by a deadline, “We have to pick one pet, and pick it out soon. You know mother told us to be back by noon.” A very unsubtle two-page headline adds to their quandary and pressure to make a decision: “Make up Your Mind.”
Common sense wins out after the children consider buying one of each kind of pet. “Dad would be mad.” Yet, then the pressure is on, “If we do not choose, we will end up with none.” Their final choice of a pet will probably puzzle young readers (and some parents, too). However, their final selection takes a back seat to Dr. Seuss’ lessons on the decisionmaking process, the ability to find compromise, and being able to develop a positive resolution while the clock is still ticking.
This is a book that can inspire long periods of discussion between young readers and parents. It should prompt many questions that can be asked by children to adults, and vice versa. Like all other Dr. Seuss books before it, What Pet Should I Get? is a true childhood adventure.