“An Octopus Followed Me Home” by Dan Yaccarino

So far, I have been recommending books about cats and dogs, as these animals are by far most common pets in the western world. However, some children (and parents alike) might have more exotic taste. Pippi Longstocking had a monkey and a horse, right? I have seen people have snakes, birds, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, scorpions (my brother’s pet of choice), fish and even turtles. I don’t want to put ideas in your heads, but what would you do if your animal-loving child brought home a curious creature?

A little girl tries to convince her dad to let her keep… an octopus. Unfortunately, dad thinks that their ‘home zoo’ is already big enough, with bears behind the couch, seals in the pool, penguins in the fridge, an a crocodile under the bed, among others, that is. Finally, dad  talks his daughter out of keeping the eight-armed beast, but what is it that she is bringing home next? A dinosaur?

This absurd yet quite relevant rhyme, brightly illustrated with Yaccarino’s  geometrical art, is a hilarious read for the whole family. Although the story warns against turning your house into a jungle, it does prove that animal lovers will always be animal lovers. Or maybe some children are stray magnets? Whatever it is, I find children’s love for animals very endearing. It is simple and genuine.

Since it is my last post and book about pets and the role of pets in our children’s lives, let me finish with a request. If you have already decided on a house pet, please do not start the adoption process with a visit to an expensive pet store. There are so many lonely and lovely creatures in the crowded animal shelters. Give them a chance!