Prudence Wants a Pet by Cathleen Daly
Prudence Wants a Pet explores the troubles of a pet-yearning girl with dry humor and simple, fun imagery. We already know what Prudence desires, but her parents are in no mood to sacrifice money or peace and quiet in exchange for a kitty or a puppy. So Prudence decides to take matters into her own hands.
She adopts a pet branch and appropriately names it "Branch." The new addition to the family does not need food or water, just a little spot on the front porch. All is well until dad trips on it and breaks Branch into little bits.
Thankfully, Prudence is very flexible with her pets. Even the loss of Branch does not phase her. She has a new pet now...named Twig.
Cathleen Daly's story is especially entertaining for those who have witnessed the sort of imagination and dedicated commitment that we see in Prudence. One way or another, she is going to have a pet, whether it is a twig, a shoe, or even a tire.
Stephen Michael King's illustrations are sparse but funny and to the point, matching Daly's understated humor. I especially liked the pages where Prudence tries to turn her baby brother Milo into a pet, picking him up off the ground and effortlessly placing him into a box with some water. There is something about the portability of babies that always makes me laugh.
Other picture books that thrive on the imagination of their main characters include Not a Box and Not a Stick, by Antoinette Portis. Both of these titles show the wondrous possibilities that imagination allows for in seemingly everyday objects.
Prudence Wants a Pet was recommended to me by a mother of a young one, and I definitely think the book's witty humor was a factor in her appreciation of it. It can be so refreshing to encounter a picture book written for both children and adults. So if your children are desperate for a pet, you might want to consider checking out this book. They might just settle for their very own cute and cuddly....twig.