Book Review: A Puppy Not A Guppy by Holly Jahangiri
One of the things I have missed the most since retiring from the library is reading and reviewing children’s books. In the course of my work days, I checked in and shelved hundreds and hundreds of children’s books each week and set aside any that caught my eye to check out and bring home to read and review. While I suppose I could visit the children’s section when I go to the library and look for interesting and unusual children’s books, the fact is I almost never do. Honestly, these days I am reading and reviewing a lot more indie and self-published books and don’t visit the library nearly as often as I used to. So I was most pleased a while back when my friend Holly Jahangiri sent me a review copy of her 2009 children’s book A Puppy, Not A Guppy.
Irma is a young girl who really wants a puppy. But her mom and dad are adamantly opposed– her father is certain that a puppy would chew the furniture and shred his house slippers. Her friend Jimmy offers to give Irma a few guppies, since his fish tank became crowded when Mama guppy gave birth. Irma’s parents agree to let Irma take the guppies, but Irma is not impressed. She wants a dog she can walk. Reluctantly, Irma accepts three newborn guppies, and with her mother’s encouragement begins training her guppies to “fetch”. Jahangiri does a wonderful job of depicting Irma’s training of her pet fish, who do indeed learn to fetch a small twig. Following the story, some additional information about guppies and about positive reinforcement and “shaping” (the method Irma uses to train her fish) is provided.
Illustrator Ryan Shaw contributes delightful pen and ink line drawings that bring Irma, Jimmy and her parents to life. The reading level of this fifty page paper back appears to be about third to fifth grade. This is a junior story book, rather than an easy picture book. For grade school children who desire pets, A Puppy, Not A Guppy is Highly Recommended.