Shelter Pet Squad Series

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Shelter Pet Squad Series Book Poster Image
Upbeat, fun adventures spotlight kind, animal-loving kids.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

There's a lot to learn about caring for animals, and about putting a plan into action. The series teaches responsible pet ownership, and the last pages of the books have information about a particular pet, instructions for crafts, and a way to help shelter animals in readers' communities.

Positive Messages

Everything about this series is positive: treating animals and people with respect and compassion, trying your hardest, using brains and heart to look for solutions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The people who run the animal shelter give the kids lots of guidance and are full of compassion; parents and other adults are supportive and kind, and kids make friends with each other easily.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that young animal lovers will relate to the upbeat, heartwarming Shelter Pet Squad series by Cynthia Lord, who won a Newbery Honor for Rules (2007). The books focus on five kids working together to care for animals at a shelter and solve the various problems that come up, such as a missing ferret or a guinea pig needing a home. The characters are fairly well developed, especially shy Suzannah, and the chapters are long for early readers (11 to 12 pages), but the writing is interesting and age appropriate. At the end of each book are facts about an animal, ideas for crafts, care instructions, and more information about the responsibility of pet ownership.

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What's the story?

In the Shelter Pet Squad series, five kids volunteering at the local animal shelter get attached to the "looking for a second chance" pets in their care. Written from the perspective of shy Suzannah, the stories show that the kids do more than just pet the animals. They play with the dogs and cats, toys, try to find caring homes, and, in the case of an escaping ferret, try to find the pet itself! Suzannah isn't allowed to have pets in her apartment, but she gets to love some special animals every Saturday at the shelter.

Is it any good?

This is a great series for early readers. The writing is clear and interesting, the chapters are a little long but the plots aren't complicated, and the idea of volunteering to help animals is completely relatable to young kids. Suzannah's insecurities about her age and being the only member of the Shelter Pet Squad without a real pet of her own are a sweet perspective, and one that shy readers can understand. Author Cynthia Lord writes stories that resonate with readers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why the work that the Shelter Pet Squad does is important, both for animals and people. 

  • Why would an animal end up at a shelter?

  • What other books have you read that have stories of animals connecting with humans?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals

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