Seahorses Are Sold Out – Text by Constanze Spengler, Illustrations by Katja Gehrmann

Seahorses Are Sold Out – Text by Constanze Spengler, Illustrations by Katja Gehrmann, Gecko Press, 9781776573851, 2021

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre:  Picture Books

What did you like about the book?  Little Mika is ready for a day at the lake, but poor Dad has to work.  Dad, yearning for a little peace and quiet, finally gives in to Mika’s request for a pet.  “If you did have a pet . . . would you play with it very quietly and not bother me until I finish my work?”  And so, with Dad’s whole wallet (!) in hand, Mika sets off to visit the pet shop.  

The purchase of a mouse who hides too well leads to subsequent purchases of other animals – a puppy to find the mouse, a seal to live in the bathroom and toilet train everyone, and on and on!  Each day brings a new pet with unique talents and new housebreaking challenges.  Dad, deep in his work (at an impressive workbench full of diagrams, glue, and bubbling solutions), is just pleased that Mika is occupied and quiet.  At the end of the week, when Dad emerges from working all night, he discovers Mika and a whole menagerie of friends at the breakfast table.  What will happen next?

I love the way Mika is independent, makes their own fun, and handles any difficulties that arise.  The illustrations, which look to be paint and crayon, are colorful and full of motion and detail.  The owner of Pet Kingdom changes from being suspicious of a child in his store to delighted to see a repeat customer.  Mika’s dad, while utterly immersed in work, is also kind and is drawn with love and warmth.

The story shows only Mika and Dad, no other children or parents.  This is a nice depiction of a single-parent family not focused on an “issue.”  Also noteworthy is that Mika’s gender isn’t specified.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Kids who like silly books and animals.  This is a little like “I know an old woman who swallowed a fly,”  but each new animal introduced brings joy instead of eating its predecessor, and no one dies!

Who should buy this book? Public libraries, daycares, preschools.

Where would you shelve it?  Picture Books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!  This could be a great choice for Tails and Tales story times this summer.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State:  Robin Shtulman, Athol Public Library, Athol, MA

Date of review:  13 May 2021

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