Joyce Dunbar (text) & Lara Jones (illustrations)(Macmillan Children’s Books)

A little girl is set on having a pet, but her choices are slightly over-ambitious: she wants a tiny crocodile, a pocket bear, a funky monkey and all sorts of other wild animals. Her brother tries to make her see sense: those animals belong in the wild and they would make terrible pets! Will she find the perfect pet? A lovely orange kitten, who uncannily looks like a mini-tiger, might just be the answer!

This lovely picture book is bursting with energy! Joyce Dunbar’s rhyming text flows and is fun and it is a joy to read aloud. There are some books that you feel like you are singing, and this is one of them. They always make bedtime reading extra special.

The artwork is beautiful and it is the fact that it was a Lara Jones book that first attracted me to the book. This is particularly poignant as this is Lara’s final book, as she tragically passed away in March. Her books have been favourites in my house ever since my children were babies. We loved Poppy Cat books but also one my daughter’s most favourite books as a toddler was Babies Can! At age 5, she still likes her dad to read it to her. Lara Jones will always been linked to my memories of my children’s early years and I was very, very sad to hear of her passing.

I think that, like me, my daughter  loves the way Lara drew her characters. Her illustrations are soft, childlike, with a clever use of colours and this makes them hugely engaging for a young audience. In this book, I particularly liked the background to the illustrations which showcases the variety of materials Lara used.

This book is also a fun way of introducing a whole range of wild animals and their habitats. This could easily open discussions about welfare of animals and whether zoos are ethical with older children.

Definitely a fun story to share and read aloud.