Monday, October 8, 2012

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

noteable review

Travis Jonker over at 100 Scope Notes blog scoped out Petunia.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mya reads

Mya reads Petunia!

Monday, February 7, 2011

the word

David Elzey, a book reviewer I particularly admire, in turn admires Petunia:

A Pet for Petunia
by Paul Schmid 
Harper  2011 

A little girl wants a pet, and she promises to take care of it and everything, but some pets just aren't meant to be...

Petunia loves skunks.  That's all you need to know.  Because when a child loves an animal at some point the question will be "Can I have one as a pet, please, pretty please?" and we all know how that goes.  Of course Petunia, and most children, learn that their ideal pet sometimes isn't s perfect as they thought.  Once confronted with the reality that her parents are right – skunks do in fact stink – Petunia accepts that her stuffed animal version is good enough until one day she encounters...

And there's the final page-turn twist.  Of course the reader is going to understand the new problem at a glance and can work out what happens next.

Schmid's illustration style is pure charm, simple conte crayon and spot watercolor in two colors, mostly purple with dabs of yellow.  The simplicity suits the story, and Petunia's expressions are easily read.  I've been a fan of Schmid's since I saw his work in The Wonder Book a while back, and I still think he has a great eye for the details in character and setting that are totally child-centric.  

I think we've all been here at one time or another.  Just a few months ago with our teen daughters we had this pleading and promising going on for some new kittens.  And as a pre-school boy myself I wanted to have a pet squirrel.  I even created a squirrel sanctuary in an empty closet under the stairs. It's interesting to consider this desire kids (and people in general) have to be caretakers of animals.  There's cuteness, and companionship, but beyond that... I don't know, I find it interesting.

As opposed to high concept picture books about pets (the previously reviewedChildren Make Terrible Pets) here we have the variation on the universal concept of the unreasonable pet.  The universal concept takes common childhood experiences and explores the process of discovery for the child/main character that leads them to recognize that some pets just aren't meant to be.  Of course, most readers are familiar with the potential problem – and may have had identical experiences – and so in addition to the reassurance of the lesson learned, the universal also promises a humorous twist at the end that brings the reader back to the beginning. 

What makes this work is the comfort that is found in the universal themes.  There are no conceptual twist to wrestle with at every turn, just a simple narrative that allows the reader to place themselves easily in the mindset of Petunia. Done right, there's nothing wrong with simplicity.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

another nice review

From the Library Pirates:

A Pet for Petunia

by Paul Schmid

Something about the cover of this book drew me in. I had to read it before leaving the library the day it arrived even though I already had my coat on. Within two pages, I found someone who would listen as I transformed into performance mode.
Petunia is a fan of skunks. So much so that her toy skunk is no longer a suitable pet. She has decided that only the real thing will do. Petunia has a very childlike tirade near the middle of the book that sent me into a gale of laughter. Her desire for a cute, cuddly friend cannot be quelled, no matter what she learns about the creatures.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

review from Publishers Weekly

Rawther nice:

A Pet for Petunia 
Paul Schmid, Harper, $12.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-196331-5 
Extroverted Petunia wears a striped purple jumper and lives a life filled with exclamation points; she “wants wants, wants! a REAL pet skunk.” She pleads with her parents, who are never on-camera; it’s mostly Petunia’s side of the conversation, overheard like half of a cellphone call. Her begging culminates with a rant so impassioned that it fills an entire page with words that start out huge and shrink, line by line, as her protests lose steam: “STINK? How can you say that!...You said no when I wanted a python, too! I bet Katie’s parents would get her a skunk.” Schmid’s (The Wonder Book) line drawings are simple, fluid, and convey lots of valuable information: when Petunia makes a snack for her stuffed skunk, the milk carton on the table leaks where she’s ripped it open, betraying her claims of responsible care (“I’ll feed my skunk every day. I promise!”). An encounter with a real skunk gets Petunia’s mind off pets--briefly. Enthusiastic and single-minded, Petunia makes delightful company; kids will recognize themselves and clamor for rereads. Ages 3–7. (Feb.)