cover image Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet

Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet

Kelly DiPucchio, illus. by Bob Shea. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3394-7

The well-worn premise of longing for the ideal pet gets a quirky tweak in DiPucchio's (Grace for President) story, which plays out humorously in Shea's (Dinosaur vs. the Potty) free-wheeling digital illustrations. Limited to his fishbowl, Gilbert can't do any searching, but he eagerly watches as potential pets approach. The arrival of a friendly, barking dog initially delights Gilbert (his owners appear to be dog-sitting), but he "never dreamed his pet would be so noisy." Next, a mouse appears and excitedly sniffs at the bowl, thinking Gilbert is a chunk of cheddar, then runs off when she realizes her error. Kids with a dark sense of humor will appreciate the second half of the book: another candidate%E2%80%94an amiable fly%E2%80%94has an unfortunate encounter with a fly swatter, and DiPucchio builds tension regarding the identity of the final "pet," which has a "long tail and wiry whiskers" and is slyly pictured in silhouette at first. Shea's bright, high-contrast artwork has a TV cartoon vibe and is in playful sync with the tale, which ends happily for all (except for the fly). Ages 3%E2%80%935. (June)