No ducks were harmed in the
making of this book
This quote comes from the dedication on the first page and perfectly sets the tone for this funny yet poignant book.
In the spirit of Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers, Charlie's Checklist by Rory Lerman and A pet for Mrs Arbuckle by Gwenda Smyth, in Wanted : The perfect Pet our hero Henry advertises for his ideal companion but he doesn't quite get the pet he expects.
He wants a dog "with floppy ears and a waggy tail, and a soft wet nose, and a warm fury tongue. A dog that can catch balls that I throw, that can learn fantastic new tricks and that I can chase around trees." Henry places a detailed advertisement in his local paper The Daily Catastrophe. When you turn to this page take time to read the other ads - free enchanted mirror, a woodcutter with axe and a time machine.
Meanwhile a duck with no name living all alone far way at the top of a hill picks up his newspaper and reads the advertisement. Duck is not a dog but this does not deter him. He makes a disguise and heads off to visit Henry. Oddly Henry finds his 'dog' is not very good at catching balls, learning tricks or chasing games. Then all is revealed.
Now comes the beautiful, emotional turning point. On discovering Duck is a duck Henry takes him home, they share a cup of tea and Henry works on some research. He makes a list of all the special qualities of ducks.
'So you might not be a dog' said Henry happily, 'but you are certainly not JUST a duck. In fact, you might just be The Perfect Pet for me.'
There is so much to discuss with a book like this. The inclusion of the newspaper page, the labelled diagram of the perfect dog, whole page illustrations which contrast with pages of tiny pictures showing duck and his desperate attempts to act like a dog. Here are some teacher notes. This book has been in our library for a long time so I must thank the teacher who bought it to my attention earlier this year.
Good news there is a sequel to this book called The Perfect Present which you can also find in our school library.