Learn the value of pets with ‘Melvin and the Boy’


“MELVIN AND THE BOY,” by Lauren Castillo, Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers, July 5, 2011, $16.99 (ages 4-8)

When you’re little and don’t have a pet of your own, it seems like everyone else does. That’s how the little boy in “Melvin and the Boy” feels. He wants a dog, but they’re too big, his mom says. A monkey is too much work, his dad says. And a parrot is too noisy, they both say.

It seems all hope is lost until the boy notices a turtle with a fancy shell at the park. The turtle is small and quiet and shouldn’t be too much work, and when the boy asks if he can keep him, Mom and Dad agree.

And so Melvin becomes a part of the family. But Melvin doesn’t seem very happy. He won’t come out of his shell and he doesn’t want to play with other pets. In fact the only time Melvin seems at peace is a bath time. The boy realizes maybe the pond is a better place for Melvin after all, and he can still visit him there whenever he wants.

“Melvin and the Boy” is a lovely little book. Both text and illustration work in concert with each other to create a fun, cohesive whole. The text is simple and straightforward with playful artwork filling in the holes. Children will love the images of other pets and parents will appreciate the book’s message. And a two-page section at the end featuring turtle facts is a fun and somewhat unexpected addition.


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About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

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