What Pet Should I Get?
By Dr. Seuss, 2015
The Story: A brother and sister go to the pet store to choose a pet. Dad says they can only get one. And mom says to be home by noon. So they have to make a decision, and make it quick. But it’s hard to choose between a dog and puppy, kitten and cat, fish, turtle, bird and even fantastical creatures. So which pet should they get?
What Wallace and I Think: Hooray for new Dr. Seuss! The story goes that the late Dr. Seuss’s wife and assistant found the completed manuscript of What Pet Should I Get? while going through some old boxes. There are several theories why he never published it. Apparently Seuss usually worked on more than one project at a time, and seeing as the siblings from this book are the same from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish there is speculation that this book inspired One Fish Two Fish and his attention went to creating that book. Or perhaps he was simply working on too many projects, and he forgot about What Pet. Whatever the reason, thanks to his wife and assistant we now have a NEW Dr. Seuss book over twenty years after his death, and it may be in the running for my favorite Dr. Seuss book.
The whole story is about making difficult choices within guidelines. Making a decision with so many wonderful options can seem next to impossible. Each time the brother and sister think they have settled on what pet they will get, something new catches their eyes, giving more possibilities for them to weigh. The struggle reminded me of my brother, who when he was little, would always take a lot of time to make decisions. Whether it was what movie we would rent, what chocolate bar to get, what toy to buy, he would silently pace the isles for what seemed like hours until someone (usually me) made him make a decision so we could move on with our day. I was teasing him about this when we were much older, and my brother told me that he always took so long because he knew he could only choose one thing, and wanted to make sure he made the right choice, not one he would regret later. Sooooo, if this book was out when my brother and I were little, it would have been his “theme” book.
The wonderful wordplay you expect from Seuss is present, and the fantastical artwork is also what you would expect. I love how it moves from the children considering real animals, to imaginary ones, showing how out of control the choice process has become. What I LOVE most about this book is that the pet the siblings choose is a mystery! They walk out of the pet store with a box, some eyes peeking out, but it is left up to the readers to decide and imagine which pet they picked. This could make for some fun writing activities in the classroom, or generally fun theoretical imagining with your little ones. I for one think they chose the dog, because it’s the first pet the brother saw and I firmly believe in going with your initial gut instinct. And dogs are the best. Obviously. Though, considering how many pets the siblings have in One Fish, Two Fish, maybe they didn’t follow their father’s rule at all!
What pet do you think they chose?
This book lives up to the Dr. Seuss legacy and should to be added to anyone’s Dr. Seuss collection.