Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review - Sparky!

by Jenny Offill
illustrated by Chris Appelhans
Date: 2014
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

The ingenious author of 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore and a brilliant illustrator and production designer of the Coraline movie have created a hilarious, touching picture book perfect for young animal lovers. Like the Caldecott Medal-winning Officer Buckle and Gloria, Sparky stars a pet who has more to offer than meets the eye. When our narrator orders a sloth through the mail, the creature that arrives isn't good at tricks or hide-and-seek... or much of anything. Still, there's something about Sparky that is irresistible.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a fun -- and funny -- book about a girl who really wants a pet.  Her mom agrees... but with certain conditions.  So the girl orders herself a sloth... by mail!

Setting aside the obvious logistical problems, it's quite a cute story.  I wasn't sure if I liked the illustrations with their limited colour palette when I started reading, but they grew on me.  And the ending had me giggling out loud.  It's a clever book, and will appeal to kids who like animals... as well as their parents.

Quotable moment:

My sloth arrived by Express Mail.

He was about the size of a mediumish dog, with a flat nose and a monkey face.

My mother wasn't happy, but a promise is a promise, I said.

Recommended to: animal lovers; readers who appreciate picture books that don't talk down to kids

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 5/5

Enjoyment: 5/5

Overall: 4.5 out of 5

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