Friday, January 29, 2016

Shelter Pet Squad: Merlin by Cynthia Lord, illustrated by Erin McGuire

Usually, I read the first book in a series, but the first title in this series, Jellybean, has been consistently checked out and since I needed to read this for Cybils I decided to start with the second one.

I knew when I first read the description that kids would love this series and they certainly have. Suzannah loves animals but her apartment doesn't allow any pets so she gets involved with a local pet shelter. In this title, Suzannah and her friends encounter a ferret and learn about them and figure out the best way to get Merlin adopted to a happy home.

There are a couple things that set this series apart from the usual kids-involved-in-animal-shelter fare. First, Suzannah has to deal with being younger than all the other kids at the shelter. She's limited from participating in some activities and a major plotline in the book is how she tries to be seen as more mature in different ways, like choosing a longer book when they're learning about ferrets, but learns it's ok to ask for help.

I also liked that they showed the animals not just going to happy homes but all the work that went into caring for them and making sure the right people were adopting them. The art is fairly standard black and white pictures. It breaks the story up, but doesn't add a lot to the book in general.

Verdict: You can never have too many of this type of series and this is a popular one. A mildly diverse cast, plenty of helpful information, and a nice length between beginning chapter book and middle grade make this stand out a little from the rest. Definitely recommend this to your Critter Club, Puppy Place, Vet Volunteers, and Animal Ark fans.

ISBN: 9780545635998; Published 2015 by Scholastic; Purchased for the library

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