Sunday, July 7, 2013

Book Review: The Best Pet of All by David LaRochelle

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun book with very cool pictures
Cons: The kid pulls a con on his mom
The Bottom Line
Dragon versus Dog
Leads to surprising ending
Dog versus Dragon

Is a Dragon the Best Pet of All?

Last year, I read and enjoyed one of David LaRochelle's picture books.  I decided to see what else he'd written, and a recent trip to the library turned up The Best Pet of All.  It's another funny book.

The narrator of this book is a young boy who wants a dog, but his mother won't let him get one.  So he finally asks if he can have a dragon as a pet.  After some thought, his mom agrees.  Was it a wise decision?  Will they wish they had a dog?

None of the characters in the book get names, but there are so few of them, it really doesn't matter.  And since the main character is narrating things, there's no confusion at all.

While I said the book was funny, I didn't mean in the laugh out loud sense.  I'd say it's more amusing.  I was certainly amused by the story and what happens when the boy finds a dragon and brings it home.

The book is actually very short.  Each page is made up mostly of illustrations with only a few lines of text to tell the story.  When you consider that, it's pretty amazing how well developed the story is.

And the illustrations are wonderful.  They are by Hanako Wakiyama, and have a definite 50's vibe to them even though the book came out in 2004.  They remind me very much of the Dick and Jane pictures I've seen over the years.

When you combine the pictures and the small amount of text, you'll find that this is a very fast read that will hold the attention of even the most fidgety child.

Then there's the twist to the story.  It's not said in any text, but a picture at the end makes it very clear that the kid and the dragon were plotting more than the simple story we've been presented so far would suggest.  As an adult, I had to laugh when I saw what was really happening.  However, parents might want to read this one before they present it to their kids to see if they feel right with what was happening.

That's my only concern with the book, and for me it's minor.  Overall, I really enjoyed The Best Pet of All and think many kids will enjoy it for a long time to come.

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