Skip to main content

The Great Pet Escape by Victoria Jamieson, 64 pp, RL 3




Victoria Jamieson is the author of the superb, Newbery Honor winner this year, Roller Girl. With her newest graphic novel, Pets on the Loose: The Great Pet Escape, Jamieson shifts from the rough and tumble world of roller derby to the dangerous lives of classroom pets. Jamieson's bright palette, way with edgy but cute creatures and attention to details make Pets on the Loose a treat to read - one you will want to read over and over while waiting for the sequel.


Before we get to chapter one, we get a close up look at the grim life of the narrator, a hamster who has been imprisoned for three months, two weeks and one day in a second grade classroom. Captured along with his friends Biter, a guinea pig, and Barry, a rabbit, GW (short for George Washington, something he is deeply embarassed by) has been plotting their escape. He has invented the Sunflower Slingshot (and there is a hilarious illustration of GW playing the sweet class pet, happily taking a sunflower from the fingers of a student) and the Rodent Catapult Transportation Device.
Once the kids are gone and the lights are off, GW is a different creature. The scenes of GW preparing for a jail break are fantastic and filled with little details, like bobby pins with pretty flowers on them, and the knit cap that GW dons. Sadly, busting out of his cage and then getting Biter and Barry free is not the liberating experience GW imagined. Barry, who has been living in a first grade classroom, has gone a little soft, tucking the toys in for the night and reading them a bedtime story. And Biter? Life in the kindergarten classroom seems to have sent him over the edge. When GW and Barry find him he's singing the theme song from the Barney show and sitting, happily in an unlocked cage!

Things go from bad to worse, including a run-in with Lucinda, the fifth grade pet (a snake) and her minions, the fourth grade pets (white mice) as well as the janitor and a bucket of filthy water. The climax finds the class pets in a very colorful food fight and imprisonment in a ring of green jello. The friends end up back in their cages, ready to plot their takeover of the school from Lucinda and her minions - after they take a nap...

Source: Purchased

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started books4yourkids.com in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …