February 20 – National Love Your Pet Day

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About the Holiday

Whether you have a dog or cat, hamster or fish, parakeet, iguana, or horse, your pet is one of the most loved parts of your family. Sharing your life with a furry friend and their funny antics, eager personalities, and unconditional love simply makes things better. Today’s holiday encourages people to spend more time with their pet or pets by taking a longer walk, extending playtime, and giving special treats that show your them how much they mean to you. If you don’t have a pet, but have been considering getting one, maybe today’s the day!

A Pet for Petunia

By Paul Schmid

 

You might say that “Petunia likes skunks,” but that wouldn’t be quite right because “Petunia LOVES skunks!” She loves everything about them from their nose to their tail, and the best thing of all is that they have stripes. Petunia loves stripes. Petunia likes sharing her love of skunks with everyone. Of course, Petunia doesn’t just love skunks, she wants one of her very own. Sure, her plush skunk is great, but “Petunia wants, wants, wants! a REAL pet skunk.”

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Copyright Paul Schmid, 2011, courtesy of HarperCollins.

She hops up and down and uses please and begs her parents for a pet skunk. Her parents try to explain, but Petunia has jumped in with her list of all the things she’ll do for her skunk. She’ll feed it everyday, and walk it, and play with it, and even empty the litter box. “‘Every week. Day! Hour! Whatever! Promise! Please, please, please may I have a pet skunk? Please!’”

Petunia is shocked when her parents say no. She can’t understand why not. “‘They stink,’ say her parents.” Petunia is incensed. She explodes in a tirade of how unfair it all is, she defends the aroma of skunks up and down, she compares her parents to Katie’s parents (who “would get her a skunk), and lets them know that she has to run away from home.

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Copyright Paul Schmid, 2011, courtesy of HarperCollins.

She flees out the front door and towards the woods where she half hopes a bear eats her, knowing that then her lunkhead parents would get her a skunk. And, lo and behold, there on the path is a real-life skunk complete with “cute little nose. Big black eyes. Stripes.” They stare at each other, and “Petunia gives a joyful gasp.” But the gasp comes with a horrible smell. “Smell” isn’t even strong enough. “It is a STINK!” With tears in her eyes, Petunia turns and races back home.

After a little while in bed to contemplate, Petunia decides that “Skunks…are…so…AWESOME!” But looking at her cute little toy skunk, she also “decides she already has a perfectly awesome pet.” Until…well, you’ll just have to see….

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Copyright Paul Schmid, 2011, courtesy of HarperCollins.

Paul Schmid’s pitch-perfect story of a little girl who just has to have a skunk for a pet will delight kids and adults with its adorably earnest Petunia and her realistic dialog. Petunia’s long list of promises leads into the perfectly shocked expression when she discovers that her parents are saying “no” to a pet skunk. A page full of bold, italics, fancy, and shrinking typefaces that lay out Petunia’s argument follows, mirroring the barrage of words that flow from this disappointed little girl. To her credit, when she is presented with (confronted by?) her heart’s desire and treated to its particular talent, Petunia makes a smart choice—until…. Kids will no doubt appreciate Petunia’s sincerity while adults will understand it on a more experienced level. And both will laugh at Petunia’s exasperation and stinky predicament.

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Copyright Paul Schmid, 2011, courtesy of HarperCollins.

Schmid is well-known for his expressive illustrations, and Petunia is a shining example. Schmid’s simple line drawings combine just-right body poses, skipping, jumping, somersaulting, and eventually running with sweet smiles, wide grins, and surprise to create a lovable and loving child that readers of all ages will embrace. Her pet skunk is adorable too—and, like all favorite toys, possesses a true personality of its own. Tinted with purple and a hint of orange, the clean, black-and-white images put the spotlight on endearing Petunia.

For pet lovers, toy lovers, and book lovers, A Pet for Petunia is a charming and captivating story to add to home and classroom bookshelves.

Ages 4 – 8

HarperCollins, 2011 | ISBN 978-0061963315

To learn more about Paul Schmid, his books, and his art, visit his website.

National Love Your Pet Day Activity

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A Sweet Match! Puzzle

 

These sweet skunk twins got separated! Can you help them find their match again in this printable puzzle?

A Sweet Match Puzzle

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You can find A Pet for Petunia at these booksellers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

Picture Book Review

February 20 – National Love Your Pet Day

The Octopuppy by Martin McKenna Picture Book Review

About the Holiday

National Love Your Pet Day is a great day for pets and for pet owners! If you have a pet, spend extra time with them or give them an extra treat today.You know you’ll both enjoy it!

The Octopuppy

By Martin McKenna

 

Edgar wants a puppy for his birthday, but what he gets is so NOT a puppy. Out of the gift box pops Jarvis, a goggle-eyed octopus ready to party. Disappointing doesn’t even begin to describe Edgar’s feelings. Jarvis can’t do anything a dog could do. Sure, he might be clever—Jarvis buys Edgar an ice-cream cone instead of staying on his leash tied to the lamppost, for example—but Edgar wants a pet he can enter in the upcoming dog show.

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Copyright Martin McKenna, courtesy of http://www.storycorner.scholastic.com

Perhaps with training Jarvis can learn to be more like a dog, Edgar thinks. But when Edgar tells him to lie down, Jarvis goes to sleep wearing PJs and socks, holding a teddy bear and surrounded with books. Edgar’s command to “play dead” elicits a surprise lunge from a wardrobe in a toilet-paper mummy costume. It’s just too much, and drives Edgar crazy! Finally, however, Jarvis learns to sit like a dog, and off they go to the dog show.

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Copyright Martin McKenna, courtesy of http://www.storycorner.scholastic.com

At the dog show things go…well…Jarvis just can’t help being himself. He wears a tutu, plays the piano, does card tricks, and plays the drums—all at the same time. The other entrants are not amused, and Edgar is sooo embarrassed.

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Copyright Martin McKenna, courtesy of http://www.storycorner.scholastic.com

Jarvis decides to run away, and after penning a note apologizing for being a bad dog, he slips down the toilet and out to sea. When Edgar discovers Jarvis is missing, he realizes he has been wrong. He remembers all the great things Jarvis did and thinks that Jarvis was the best Octopuppy in the world! Suddenly, he wants his pet back. He looks everywhere, but Jarvis is nowhere to be found.

As a last resort Edgar yells his apology into Jarvis’s escape route. His message is carried through the plumbing by various pipe and underground creatures until Jarvis hears it. Before Edgar can turn around, Jarvis is back! To celebrate his being home, Edgar’s family and friends throw Jarvis the kind of wild party he was looking for all along.

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Copyright Martin McKenna, courtesy of http://www.storycorner.scholastic.com

This endearing story has just the right mix of craziness and sincerity to make it a favorite on any child’s bookshelf. Martin McKenna hits all the right notes in his tribute to friendship and the idea that true friends accept and appreciate each other the way they are. Jarvis is a sweetie as he does his very un-doglike things. He rescues a cat instead of chasing it, cooks sausages instead of stealing them, and performs surgery instead of biting the mailman. These vignettes make Edgar’s rejection of Jarvis all the more heartrending and his ultimate realization very satisfying. McKenna’s illustrations are loaded with silly and profound details that kids will want to linger over, and the two-page spread of Edgar leading Jarvis home after the dog show is an emotional marvel.

Ages 3 – 6

Scholastic Press, 2015 | ISBN 978-0545751407

Check out more about Martin McKenna and his books on theoctopuppy.com.

Unwrap The Octopuppy book trailer!

National Love Your Pet Day Activity

CPB - Dog Toy

Braided Pet Toy

 

Your pet will love playing with you and this easy-to-make toy that’s perfect for tug-of-war, fetch, or any kind of fun.

Supplies

  • Fleece in two or three colors or patterns
  • Scissors

CPB - Dog Toy II

Directions

  1. Cut 3 strips of fleece 15 inches to 20 inches long. You can use just one color, two, or three!
  2. Holding all three strips of fleece together, make a knot by looping them at the top, feeding the ends through the loop, and pulling tight.
  3. Braid the 3 strands of fleece until there are 3” to 4” left at the end
  4. Holding all three strands together, knot them as before
  5. Your toy is ready to play with! 

The Octopuppy by Martin McKenna Picture Book Review

You can find The Octopuppy at these booksellers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

Picture Book Review