What Pet Should I Get?

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
What Pet Should I Get? Book Poster Image
More Seuss magic in discovered manuscript.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Expected rhymes, fun story create perfect practice for beginning readers; great opportunity to discuss the challenges of making choices; also, could inspire discussion about pets and where to get them, what they need, and so on.

Positive Messages

Reading is fun; sometimes it's hard to make up your mind, but take a chance and make a choice; when choosing a pet, you have to think about what your pet will need.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The two kids take their task of choosing a pet responsibly; they pay attention to their parents' instructions and consider what having a pet will mean to their family. They work together and are happy in the end.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that What Pet Should I Get? is a Dr. Seuss book filled with jazzy rhymes, familiar-yet-unique characters drawn with strong black lines and filled with primary colors, and a story kids will like. The manuscript was discovered among Seuss' papers in 2013, seemingly complete and previously unpublished. With light editing, it has been published 50 years after it was written. Though it may not quite measure up to Seuss classics such as The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, or Horton Hears a Who, the Seuss genius definitely fills each page with fun and silliness. The two main characters are the brother and sister from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and the color palette is similar. Publisher's notes discuss Seuss' love of animals and explain how this book came to be. Several photos of Seuss and his pets also are included, as is a comment about adopting pets from shelters or rescue organizations. Great for beginning readers and book collectors alike.

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What's the story?

In WHAT PET SHOULD I GET?, a young brother and sister -- the same two siblings from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish -- finally have their parents' permission to get a pet. Their mission has two constraints: Choose one pet only, and be back home by noon. When they walk into the pet store, the number of fascinating pets available overwhelms them. What'll it be? A dog, a cat, a fish, or one of the other amazing Seuss-ian animals? Each page complicates the situation as the kids weigh the pros and cons of each and try to decide on one -- the one that will fit best with their family. In the end, the kids head home, smiles on their faces and excitement in their eyes. The reader sees eyes peering out of the box the boy carries and is left to decide which pet they're taking home. End notes by the publisher describe Dr. Seuss' love of animals, explain the creation of this book, and stress that shelters and rescue organizations are better places to look for your next pet than pet stores. 

Is it any good?

This book is classic Dr. Seuss, from its jazzy rhymes and catchy refrain to its familiar yet unique characters and explosive script full of fun and adventure. It offers a valuable message about the challenges of decision-making, especially when choosing a pet for the family.

Though it could be argued that Seuss had not yet finished his manuscript, book notes at the end explain how well the editors knew Dr. Seuss and how careful they were to be true to his spirit when making changes, adding color, and so on. All in all, having one more Dr. Seuss book to treasure only makes the world a better place. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this book compares to other Seuss books they've read. Do any of the characters look familiar? What about the colors in the illustrations, or the rhymes? 

  • How does Dr. Seuss make you feel the pressure the kids feel about making their choice? Do you think repeating some of the lines makes you feel how hard it is for them to choose? What about when the animals scurry across the page with the banner that reads "MAKE UP YOUR MIND"? 

  • What kind of pet would you choose if you were these kids? Besides the pet store, where else could they look for a pet? What do you think is in the box? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Dr. Seuss and animals

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