My Favorite Pets by Gus W. for Ms. Smolinski’s Class by Jeanne Birdsall, illustrated by Harry Bliss

Published by Alfred A. Knopf 

Summary:  Gus has put together a report for school about the 17 sheep he has at his house.  It starts off pretty innocently: “A boy sheep is a ram. He has horns. The horns do not come off,” but when you look at the accompanying illustration of Gus tugging with all his might on a rope wrapped around the sheep’s horns, you may guess that Gus may be a bit of a mischief maker at his house.  And you would be right, as the report goes on to show Gus trading his brother for a lamb, cutting off a patch of wool to make himself a beard, and letting all 17 sheep into the house when his parents turn their backs for just a minute.  The last page shows Gus’s report with a B+ on it, and a comment from his teacher that indicates Gus’s mother knows what his teacher is up against.  40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  The Penderwicks author Jeanne Birdsall has written an entertaining story; what kids will really appreciate, though, is Harry Bliss’s cartoon-style illustrations that show the story behind the story.  Read this one aloud and you will have a rapt audience and lots of laughs.

Cons:  A sheep eats a scarf.  Is that a form of sheep cannibalism?

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