Humphrey's World of Pets by Betty G Birney

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Humphrey's World of Pets by Betty G Birney

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Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A first guide to pets tied in quite well to a charming series of novels and other books. Should definitely be of more than some use.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: October 2011
Publisher: Faber and Faber
ISBN: 978-0571270262

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The verb to pet means to cosset, pay loving attention to, to have loving, touching time with. It might as well mean to have in your household while spending a lot of money on, and being duty-bound and beholden to. Fish (which you can't even properly pet, of course) need a permanent power supply for their water's thermometer. Chinchillas need a special sand for their bathing in. There's even pet-friendly detergents for washing out your hamster cages. Wherever you look there's time and money expenditure in owning a pet.

If the situation in your household is that your child has been given carte blanche to choose an animal of their own, this is probably the book for you. From rodents to reptiles, via cats and dogs and more in between, it scans the needs and other decisive factors that may swing things. There's a host of little pictures, but no cutesy, squeaky-clean photos to show things only in a perfect light. This will get gnawed through - that will need cleaning - and that poop is your business.

This is no scare-story, though, nor dry academic tome. Humphrey the hamster pops up very, very regularly to chip in with his opinions, and he offers jokes, games and puzzles regarding every animal type. There are imaginary aquaria to design, pet diaries to fill in, and more.

So all will make you think, if not put you off wanting an animal of your own. The information, trivia and welcome advice here is all as sincerely produced and just as lively as in the actual. It will still require you to buy more specialist information from a bookshop or vet's, but the first step to choosing an animal - and the first eye-opening reality check - is certainly here.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

The best place to start buying the novels is with the most recent 3-in-1. But back to buying pets, there's no need to go to a breeder when there's millions of unwanted animals waiting homes - Take Me Home: Tales of Battersea Dogs by Melissa Wareham illustrates some British ones.

Buy Humphrey's World of Pets by Betty G Birney at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Humphrey's World of Pets by Betty G Birney at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.


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