The Pet: Cautionary Tales for Children and Grown-ups

The Pet: Cautionary Tales for Children and Grown-ups

By Author / Illustrator

Catherine Emmett, David Tazzyman



Age range(s)



Pan Macmillan




Paperback / softback




A laugh-out-loud cautionary tale (for children and grown-ups) written by Catherine Emmett and illustrated by David Tazzyman, bestselling illustrator of the Mr Gum series and You Can't Take an Elephant on a Bus.

Digby David slammed the door,
and dumped his bag upon the floor.
"Daddy! I DEMAND a pet,
Why have I not got one yet?"

Digby David wants a pet, but not just any pet - it has to be TWICE as big as Reuben's guinea pig and even better than Lily Jean's cat. Digby David's Daddy does what he's told, and soon Digby has a guinea pig, which he loves with all his heart... for half a day. Digby demands bigger and better, Daddy's hair gets greyer and greyer, and when Digby's dog gets boring too, he insists Daddy buy him... a gorilla!

A hilarious tale with a 'be careful what you wish for' message, especially if you wish for a gorilla and don't look after it properly.



A real laugh out loud story with a fantastic message at the end! Young children will delight in this hilarious tale about a spoilt little boy and his treatment of his pets.

The Pet is a vibrant, colourful picture book telling the story of a very demanding little boy, Digby. Digby is adamant he wants a pet, shouting to his Dad that he must have the BEST pet. The Dad is quick to phone the pet shop and Digby begins picking his first pet. The Pet shop owner attempts to dissuade Digby from; the Guinea Pig (it needs a lot of grooming), the Dog (it needs a lot of walks) and the Gorilla (it needs feeding twice a day and lots of play). But Dad is quick to throw money at the shop worker, anything to appease his 'violent red' son. Digby becomes very bored with his pets within half a day and the sad expressions show the neglect the pets soon begin to feel. That is until the Gorilla has had enough, breaks free and sets out to teach this spoilt little boy a lesson!

Written with fantastic rhythm and rhyming couplets, this story is a lovely one to read at bed time but also great for a good giggle. The refrain that runs throughout – 'Daddy’s hair turned slightly grey, I'll call the pet shop right away!' makes it great fun to read together with your child. The message is clear at the end of the story, 'Please don't neglect your pet' and there are some excellent talking points to open a dialogue with your child. One thing I love about this book is how open it is to discussing how to look after pets correctly and helping children to understand the responsibility and maturity needed to be a good pet owner. This message is needed for children and I think some parents too, who quite often buy pets for children without realising the correct type of care needed and how quickly children do get bored of their new pet. As it states on the front of the book, this is a 'Cautionary Tale for children and Grown-ups'.

The colourful illustrations and the clear facial expressions make this picture book accessible for a range of ages and it really stands out on the shelf. Having read this book with my children, we had so many discussion about the type of care lots of animals would need if we kept them as a pet (although my son still wanted a Gorilla!) A huge recommend from both a mother and a pet lover!

Picture book / Reviewed by Joanna Hewish, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 3+


Other titles