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Alien Pets – Friday Fiction

alien pets cover art

Alien Pets
Little, ed.

This is an anthology of some decent science fiction/fantasy authors. Not necessarily a weeder at all, but this poor volume had some serious water damage on the inside. Sci-fi and fantasy is usually a good source of interesting cover art. This one is no exception. I was staring at it for quite a while and trying to discern the multiple animals on the cover.The “dad” on the cover seems less impressed with the critters. Not exactly my version of cuddly, but I guess cuteness is in the eye of the beholder.

I think I will stick to my judgmental cats.


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Psychic Pets

Psychic Pets - cover
Psychic Pets: The Secret World of Animals

Submitter: The eyes of the dog and cat on the cover are very disturbing.  If glowing ink had been on offer from the publisher, I’m sure this book would have used it. Inside there are few pictures, none of them seemed to “capture” phychic-ness, in my opinion.  I have included the one picture of a human, mostly because of his illustrious credentials: Director of the Duke University Parapsychological Laboratory and leading American authority on animals with psychic powers. Ahem.

Holly: Whatever those pets on the cover are picking up on is freaking them out. A book like this can work in a public library as something fun (or even serious to those who are into that sort of thing – I make no judgments!), but they aren’t generally meant to last 38 years. Weed and replace!


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Just replace that pet dog you love

The Old Dog

Submitter: If it were up to me, I would put a match to every specimen of this genre.  But I’m only a volunteer, so all I can do is shudder quietly.

Genre: Picture books about the death of an aging pet.
Distinguishing feature: On the last page, the child gets a new pet of the same species, and all is happiness.
Lessons: Animals are fungible and your feelings aren’t real.

Sure, there is a place for these books. It’s in the History of Child Psychology section of academic libraries–not in the picture-book section of a public library. There exist death-of-a-pet books that don’t have the tacked-on happy ending.

WorldCat–which doesn’t seem to know about our local library system, though it knows about several adjacent, still smaller counties–says there are hundreds of copies out there. Hoarders of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shelf space. Disappointingly, the book was donated by a local hospice organization. They generally have better sense; did they not read the book all the way through?

Holly: I don’t like these casual happy endings either. It’s a great idea to have books for kids about the death of a pet, but maybe they could show how it’s ok to grieve, families sharing stories about their beloved pet, or even making a memorial of some sort. It’s also ok to get a new pet – eventually – and to be happy about that, but maybe show the family still remembering their lost pet so it doesn’t just look like a quick replacement.

More Critters:

Beyond Awful…the “Great” Beyond

Making Pigeons Pay

Animal Cruelty at the Science Fair

Just say “no” to monkeys with blue eye shadow

Drowning Bugs

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