4 out of 4 stars
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What does a little girl do to choose just the right pet? It has to be one she’ll never regret! She hasn’t heard great things about puppies, cats or parrots. Inspired by a book, she wonders if an ostrich might be just the right choice. Author and autism advocate Sarina Siebenaler brings this pet dilemma to life in her 2020 children’s book, Do Not Wish for A Pet Ostrich!
The book’s title reflects wisdom born of experience. After a night of vigorous wishing, the young girl wakes to find an ostrich at her side. When her new friend gets 78 apples stuck in his throat, she begins rethinking her choice. She thinks some exercise will help the ostrich, so they make their way to the zoo and then to the beach. It didn’t go all that well. All he wanted to do is run really fast or bury his head in the sand.
It turns out the ostrich was better at being an ostrich than being a pet. He can’t bury his head or go for long runs inside the house. With her great wishing power, the little girl wished on a star that her ostrich would be returned to the zoo where he would be happier. Was her wish granted? Did she settle for a cat or a parrot?
This is a beautiful little children’s book. The author has achieved her goal of writing a book that sparks the imagination, encourages literacy and teaches emotional and social skills. You may recognize some of the meter and the rhyming patterns; they follow a lyrical cadence reminiscent of Dr. Seuss.
The illustrator, Gabby Correia, created delightfully expressive visuals to accompany the story. The author integrates them nicely with the text so they are one experience rather than blocks of text that sit beside the illustrations. The characters reflect a realistic level of diversity, representing people of color and varying physical abilities.
I got stuck in a couple of places where the story seemed to jump. Once I wondered if I was missing a page. This may be less significant with a children’s book, but I felt the need for some better transitions from page to page.
An educational exercise with fun questions for kids appears after the story. While it’s not a quiz, it would help parents gauge comprehension and attention. There was one question I couldn’t answer without scanning back in the book! I did not find any grammar errors in the book.
I gladly award this effort 4 out of 4 stars for its educational value, quality illustrations and fun factor. I predict kids in the three-to-nine target age range will laugh in multiple places, and readers of all ages will appreciate the illustrations and the clever ending.
Do Not Wish For A Pet Ostrich!
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