3 out of 4 stars
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Almost My First Pet by Issomi Golden is a delightful children's story about a young boy named DJ. Like most kids, DJ wants a pet. Also like most kids, he has a big imagination and suggests many exotic animals that his mom could get for him as a pet. She finally agrees that he can have a pet if it adheres to a few reasonable rules. Although DJ decides he would like a fish, his mom assumes he wants a dog, so the responsibilities she says he will have (walking the pet, brushing the pet, etc.) produce funny results when DJ imagines doing them with a fish.
The premise of this book is hilarious, and it definitely captures the imagination of children. DJ is a well-meaning kid who intends to take care of his pet, and he really tries to understand how all the things his mom asks him to do could be done with a fish. His innocence will appeal to adults and children as they remember funny times when they were in conversations that became disconnected like the one between DJ and his mom.
Although I really enjoyed the premise, the execution of the book left a little to be desired. You can tell the author didn't hire a professional artist and probably made the drawings online. Every picture of the fish is the same one, just rotated in different directions. I think investment in an artist would definitely make this book look more professional.
I also think it could use a little editing to make it shorter and funnier. The author sometimes over-explains DJ's thoughts. This shouldn't be necessary for kids who will probably be able to relate to DJ.
In spite of these issues, I still rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I didn't find any grammatical errors, and it's definitely a funny idea. With better pictures and some trimming of the text on each page, it could be a staple in all children's libraries.
I would recommend this book to kids ages 5-8, but I think younger children could enjoy it with the help of a parent, and older kids might find it funny even though it would be below their reading level.
Almost My First Pet
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