Tag Archives: pets

Not Norman: A Goldfish Story


By Kelly Bennett, Illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

Candlewick Press, 2005

When I got Norman, I didn’t want to keep him. I wanted a different kind of pet. Not Norman. I wanted a pet who could run and catch. Or one who could climb trees and chase strings. A soft, furry pet to sleep on my bed at night. Not ┬áNorman. All Norman does is swim around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around…

Here’s the perfect book to read your kids when they’re asking for a Dalmation or pony and you’re thinking more along the lines of… koi. The young narrator of the story think he’s been gypped out of a “good” pet. After all, Norman can’t do anything. Or can he? The more time and attention Norman spends on his little googly-eyed fish (albeit under the guise of bringing him back to the pet store), the more he begins to appreciate his new finned friend. The cheerful digital drawings keep up, er, swimmingly, with Bennett’s gentle narrative.

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Gomer & Little Gomer


By R.A. Herman, Illustrations by Steve Haskamp

Dutton Children’s Books, 2005

Gomer loves to feel the wind rushing past his ears. He loves to bring the stick back to Donna and get a pat on his head.

The word “cute” gets a bad rap. We tend to equate it with trying hard but falling noticeably short of a goal. Girls who aren’t gorgeous are “cute.” Kids who sing off-key during a school recital: “cute.” And so on. But when I say that Gomer, a short tale about a sensitive Golden Retriever who loses his stuffed dog in the park, is one of the cutest books I’ve ever read, I mean it as a compliment. It’s sweet without being cloying. Gently suspenseful. And the charming, funny ending hits it out of the park. Just prepare for your child to contract some major Puppy Fever, thanks to the cute illustrations.

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