Friday, August 23, 2019

Review: Spencer's New Pet by Jessie Sima

by Jessie Sima
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Picture Book
46 pages
ages 4 to 7

From the creator of Not Quite Narwhal comes a classic tale of a boy and his dog—except in this unique story, one of them is a balloon!

When Spencer gets a new pet, he’s excited to do all the things that pets do—taking walks in the park, going to the vet, and attending parties together.

There’s just one hitch: Spencer’s new pet is a balloon.

And that means No. Sharp. Objects.

No drooling dogs at the park. No prickly porcupines at the vet. And absolutely no pinning tails on any donkeys!

Spencer’s New Pet is a story of pure fun about a boy, his dog, and a friendship that endures life’s sharpest...and most unexpected twists.


This is a picture book without words, and without much color. But it's exactly this which leads young viewers to dive into a world of imagination and get lost in a very unique story.

Spencer is a young boy who receives a animal balloon, one that he treasures very much. But this balloon is also about to take him on the most amazing adventure.

I've always been mesmerized by black and white pictures which incorporate just enough color to bring details to life. Sima has down a terrific job at using this technique to paint out an adventure, and illustrate how important Spencer's new pet is to him. Any child who has seen or received a animal balloon will sympathize with Spencer's adoration. The way he handles the 'pet' does go beyond natural, but it's exactly this which lets imagination take flight.

The tale is broken down into three sections, each one depicting Spencer and his 'pet' in a exciting situation. Some moments will make gazers smile. Others will draw a sigh. It's a captivating tale, which allows emotions to flow. The last chapter, however, does take a bit of a stranger turn. I'm not sure all young viewers will be comfortable with the ending and recommend that caretakers pay attention to how it might effect more sensitive children. If nothing else, it does off tons of food for thought and discussion. By no means, is it a bad ending....just takes an extraordinary twist.

And here she is...
Jessie Sima is an author/illustrator living and working in New York City. She grew up in a small town in southern New Jersey, unaware that she was a story teller. Once she figured it out, she told her family and friends. They took it quite well. She is the author of Not Quite Narwhal, Harriet Gets Carried Away, and Love, Z. You can visit her at

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