In The Grumpy Pets by Kristine A. Lombardi, Billy is on the quest to find the perfect pet. His search begins at Perfect Pets Animal Rescue. He sees tons of adorable dogs and cats but they are all too….happy.
Billy unhappily watches as the other children meet and adopt their perfect pets. He is ready to give up when he hears a noise from a back room at the shelter. Upon entering the room, Billy discovers that it is filled with…grumpy pets! Could one of these animals be Billy’s perfect match?
I found this story to be a very entertaining read. The illustrations are simplistic, yet charming. I especially love how Lombardi puts so much emphasis on the facial expressions of both the humans and the animals. My absolute favorite illustration is where Lombardi has made the pets to look like their owners. Hilarious!
This story has captured my heart for many reasons. I love that Lombardi made Perfect Pets an animal rescue instead of a pet store. Being a huge animal advocate/rescuer, I am thrilled that she is shedding light on the importance of adopting from local animal rescue groups and shelters.
I found the characters in the story very easy to relate to. We all know a person like Sara, that perpetual optimist that refuses to see anything but the bright side. And we all have our Billy days when we just cannot shake a case of the grumps.
What I loved most about the story is the dual theme of being misunderstood. Not only was Billy viewed as being “grumpy,” so were the pets at the back of the shelter. Often times, rescued animals have had very difficult lives with heartbreaking stories of abuse and neglect. They become fearful of humans and are labeled as “unadoptable.” What these animals need most is love, kindness and understanding.
Through the pure heart of a child, Billy was able to see through the facade of the grumpy pets to the very soul of these broken creatures. In reading the story, I began to wonder if Billy might have some form of Autism. Children with Autism are often misunderstood, which can be quite frustrating for the affected child. Pets are a fantastic way of bringing people of all ages out of their shells. From therapy to service dogs, these pooches are making huge differences in lives around the world.
This is a fantastic read that is sure to please children and animal lovers of all ages.