Monday 17 May 2021

I Really Want a Pet

I Really Want a Pet, written by Jackie Hosking, illustrated by Shane Mc Gowan,(Scholastic Australia) PB HB RRP $17.99 ISBN 978 1 743837443                                    

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

A very clever little girl really wants a pet and wears her mum down with her funny and absurd pet requests. This story, is pester power at its best.


Jackie Hosking is a well-known rhyming author who knows how to best put words to their test to get a good read. Jackie has not only used rhyme brilliantly in this story, but the dance and play of question and answer. Her character is not only smart and sassy but persistent. Jackie’s use of repeat refrains not only gives the story structure but gives the reader perfect opportunities to join in the reading of the story. Can I have a dinosaur? I really want a pet. I’d love a cuddly dinosaur, I haven’t had one yet. Can I have a dinosaur? They’re on the internet.

Jackie’s word play is fun, and engaging, and shows the exasperation of the mum as the pet requests get wilder.  This text explores the world of imagination and possibilities beautifully. As a child I always wanted a pet monkey and never, ever understood why I couldn’t have one. Jackie’s story captures a child-like world delightfully.


Shane Mc Gowan is an illustrator who creates such fun, comical characters that you can’t help but smile. His creations are cartoon-like and capture the characters and their personalities super well. Shane has added multiple layers of meaning by adding a kitten during the read on each spread for a child reader to spy. This not only supports the text but cleverly shows what the little girl is angling for during the story without telling. It’s a bit like the elephant in the room, we can see it but it isn’t spoken about. The spreads support the character’s thinking, because of course the little girl is going to request a humpback whale when she is in the bath. It’s totally logical. This is the magic of an illustrator who thinks and brings so much more to a story than the words.


I Really Want a Pet, is a picture book that is great for 3 years up and I can picture this book in both preschools and primary schools as it is a good match to the school curriculum and a dynamite read. It is a book that celebrates how really smart children are. Parents will get a chuckle too as all children have a go at pester power at some stage.

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