BOOK REVIEW: Pets, a New True Book

Pets (New True Book)

Ah, I recall reading many a New True Book in my school library as a child. Now that I’m the librarian, I found Pets’s heart to be in the right place, but there are too many out-of-date notions and recommendations that it’s not something I’d recommend to a modern audience.

Lines such as

A pet is a living animal. All pets need good care.


All pets need kindness.

are timeless values we all can agree with. However, once the author starts offering specifics for various species, look out.

A pet toad may be kept in a garden or in a box.

Yikes, I’d hardly like to be the poor creature relegated to a box. And as a toad is a cold-blooded creature, I’d imagine a box wouldn’t offer much in the way of temperature or humidity regulation.

Painted turtles are easy-to-care-for pets.

Turtles are complex animals that require fairly sophisticated care. The book’s simplistic description of a turtle “home” with no mention of heat regulation, is the sort of mindset that has doomed many a turtle to death from shell rot and other ailments.

Box turtles are land turtles. They make good pets.

Virtually all box turtles sold in pet stores, even to this day, are taken from the wild—which is decimating their populations. Like other turtles, their dietary and housing needs are specialized and they don’t make good beginners’ pets.

Milk, cream, fish, liver, and canned cat food are good foods for a cat.

No, milk and cream are not good foods for cats, as it usually makes them ill. Nor is fish or liver, if that’s all they get.

When we turn to the section on dogs, the first thing we see is a close-up picture of a Labrador with a dead duck hanging from her mouth.

Some dogs help hunters. What is the dog in the picture above doing?

the text goes on to state:

Some dogs trail animals. Some dogs help guard the house. Some dogs are useful only as pets.

These days, we’re much less likely to hear whether or not dogs are “useful,” see hunting scenes in childrens’ books, or read the unwise pet care advice listed above. Clearly, our relationship with animals, particularly pets, is evolving at a rapid pace. Even books published a generation ago may not reflect our current knowledge. Parents and teachers scanning the library shelves for children’s pet care materials will be better off looking for newer material.

(book review originally appeared at


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Ways to Hit on a Australian Accent
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 17:45:19

    Enjoyed just of the article place. Really thanks a lot! Awesome.


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