Recommended Ages: 8-11
Star Rating: ★★★★
This book in the Highlights series is subtitled ‘Animal Stories’.
1) Rent-a-Pet in which Brownie, the school hamster has disappeared and may starve if Sam and Nate don’t find him in time.
2) The Safest Hiding Place in which Sally is terrified of dogs until a big German Shepherd helps her win at a game of hide-and-seek.
3) Happy Birthday, Ollie in which Ollie is disappointed to receive a cat instead of a dog for his birthday. But when he gets the opportunity to exchange the cat for a dog, will he?
4) Magnificent Mary in which Mary, the horse manages to wreak havoc on the main chatcter’s garden and ego before making friends.
5) Snakes Don’t Make Good Pets in which Junie captures a snake, but her mother refuses to allow her to keep it. Can Junie convince her mother that snakes aren’t so bad after all?
6) Pet-Napper Trappers in which pets are mysteriously disappearing from the town of Aspen Grove and Cielo suspects that there are pet-nappers in the area. But is she willing to risk her own dog, Snow to capture the thieves?
7) Just Henrietta in which Kevin is nervous because he can think of nothing special to say about Henrietta, his hermit crab, at the school pet exhibit. But perhaps the words necessary will pop out of the circumstances surrounding him…
8) The Puppy Problem in which Ring, the puppy, can’t seem to get it into his head that he’s been sold to a new owner, but keeps running back to Mrs. O’Mally and Chelsey. What to do!
9) The Lonely Donkey in which Nancy and Tom are worried that their new friend Jennet, the donkey, is not receiving proper care from her less than friendly owner.
10) Midnight, the Halloween Cat in which Kyle has boasted that his cat Midnight can perform tricks for the school’s Halloween party. Will Midnight make good Kyle’s boast, or will she embarrass both of them?
11) What Do You Name a Horse? In which Jenny is preparing to ride her new horse in the local horse show, but can’t think of a name that fits her well. Will she be able to think of one before the show starts?
12) Dorsey Delivers the Mail in which Dorsey, the small brown-and-white collie delivers mail from one old west town to another.
13) Stuck in Neutral in which Jerry can’t seem to get his 500-pound calf to cooperate with his orders. Will she be a disaster at the local fair show?
14) Three’s a Dog in the Oven! in which Uggy’s owners have moved to a new house and Uggy is determined that a dog is living in the oven. Every time Uggy looks in there, the dog is looking back at her. The dog even has the audacity to bark at her every time she barks! But will Uggy be able to convince her owners of the existence of this strange copy-cat dog?
15) Friends to the Rescue in which Duke, the horse, has the colic and his owners are nowhere to be found. Can Kathy and Sue keep him alive?
I have to make one comment here – the writing style of Magnificent Mary was leaps and bounds more sophisticated than the other stories in this book. I actually derived pleasure from reading it. (=
One story in this collection is called Midnight, the Halloween Cat. In it, Kyle brings his black cat to his school’s Halloween party where everyone is dressed in costumes, including one person as a witch. I don’t think this story could be salvaged, but it would be easy to tape the pages together.
A girl remembers once when an Indian told her “that animals were our brothers and all living things were connected.” [pg. 40]
A man lies to save himself from embarrassment.
‘Gee’ is used once.
Conclusion. Not amazing, but innocent and cheerful.
Review © 2013 Laura Verret