175. “Wanted: The Perfect Pet” by Fiona Roberton

Henry wanted a dog. He wanted it badly, more than the peace on earth and a free round trip to the moon. He had a very defined idea of what dogs are like, according to which dogs make perfect pets. They are smart and loyal, have fluffy ears and wet noses. To find a dog, desperate Henry posted an ad in a newspaper.

The ad was read by a nameless, lonely duck, which above all wanted to have a friend. She wanted it so badly that she even resorted to a clever disguise. She decided to look, act and woof like a dog.

Henry was delighted, but his excitement was short-lived. The perfect dog couldn’t catch a ball and waddled instead of running, until… his paws fell off. How disappointing! Or is it? Even though the duck was far from a perfect dog, perhaps it could be a perfect pet?

We think we know what we want and what is the best for us. But do we really? Sometimes the better things can come unplanned, if we are able to make an adjustment that is.  As a poet said, “Life is what happens as we are making other plans”.  I always thought I should live in Spain and have a Spanish looking boyfriend, and then I said ‘yes’ to my blue-eyed Prince Charming who brought me all the way to CA.  I thought I hated winter but my best memory picture was taken on a frosty day. What do I know?

What I do know is that if you look for a perfect picture book, “Wanted: The Perfect Pet” is it. A clever story written in a very funny and engaging way, combined with hilarious and memorable black and white cartoonish pictures make it a perfect read for children and grown-ups alike, especially now, during the holidays, when so many perfect gifts ideas are being born in children’s heads.

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