My Pet Book by Bob Staake

I am a big fan of the work of Bob Staake and I hope you'll take time at the end of this review to explore his other books, many of which I have reviewed here. His newest picture book, My Pet BOOK, perfectly presents Staake's wacky sensibilities and his colorfully crowded world while expressing the joys of books and reading at the same time.

Set in Smartytown, we meet a boy who wants a pet that is easy to take care of and has the power to transport you to other worlds. Of course, this kind of pet can only be found at the Loyal Neighborhood Bookopolis (thanks for the shout-out to independent bookstores, too, Mr. Staake!)

Our hero has a hard time choosing just the right book - I mean pet - but he does find a "frisky red hardcover" that doesn't have fleas, never needs bathing and, best of all, doesn't poop.


The boy takes his book home and all is well for a while, until his beloved pet disappears. My Pet BOOK is told in verse and, as picture book prove time and time again (except for the extremely talented author and illustrator Chris Van Dusen) it is very difficult to sustain a rhyming story over the course of a meaty picture book. Staake takes a few wrong turns and a makes few awkward rhymes over the course of the story, but his premise and illustrations make these easy to over look - especially because you can spend so much time poring over the little details and gags tucked into every illustration. This may not be Staake's best book yet, but it is definitely the best book about a boy with a biblio-based pet I've ever read!

Books by Bob Staake with links to my reviews:

 Look! A Book!                                Look! Another Book!

Cars Galore                                Bugs Galore                            Toys Galore

More books by Bob Staake:

Preview image
I'm a Monster Truck

Source: A Bookstore!


I Am So Brave by Stephen Krensky, illustrated by Sara Gillingham

I Am So Brave! is the newest book from Stephen Krensky and Sara Gillingham and the fourth in their series of board books celebrating the milestones along from toddlerhood to preschooler. I Can Do It Myself! and Now I Am Big! and I Can Do It Myself!. Rather than teaching facts to toddlers like most board books, Krensky's books focus on the things the accomplishments they have already achieved.

In I Am So Brave!, Krensky hones in on the seemingly small, everyday happenings that can be monumental for little ones, from being scared of dogs, swimming, the dark, loud horns and good-byes. Each fear is expressed, then countered. Our narrator tells us he was sacred of the dark, then, "I saw the stars shine." My favorite illustration of all of Gillingham's wonderful artwork is the final spread where we see our narrator gleefully jumping into a ball pit declaring, "Now I am brave!"

Source: Review Copy