Never Miss a Beat

Kitties, Lizards, And Critters OH MY! Fun Books For Summer Reading

Rica Baptista: Llamas, Iguanas, and My Very Best Friend by Janet Costa Bates



Not all beloved pets have fur. And not every kid wants a fish for a pet.


Rica Baptista wants—no, needs, a pet. A llama, a kinkajou, or maybe an iguana? She even has a name picked out: Frederica, her own name, after her Cape Verdean great-great-grandfather. But Rica’s parents say no almost faster than their mouths can open. The worst part is that Rica can’t tell anyone why she wants a pet because she’s not supposed to know—she overheard that her best friend, Laini, is moving away, and Rica worries about being left behind. Rica and Laini make lists of the benefits of having a pet to convince Rica’s parents, and they try all sorts of schemes to raise money to afford one, from party planning to hold a yard sale to entering a poetry contest. But in the end, it might be an act of unselfish kindness and courage that shows that Rica is ready to take on the pet of her dreams. In a rich and amusing story that will appeal to fans of Judy Moody and Ivy and Bean, a sincere and creative protagonist navigates friend and family relationships from funny to frustrating, endearing to insightful.

For ages 6-9



I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff



This delightful book is not new, but it is a classic for any parent navigating the wants and needs of their pet-loving child.


Alex’s friend is moving and can’t take his scaley pet with him. Alex wants this critter badly and sets to work trying to convince his mom to let him have an iguana. His humorous and relatable arguments are written as Dear Mom letters. He promises that she won’t have to feed it or clean its cage or even see it if she doesn’t want to. Of course Mom imagines life with a six-foot-long iguana eating them out of house and home. Alex’s reassurances: It takes fifteen years for an iguana to get that big. I’ll be married by then and probably living in my own house. Mom’s responses are equally entertaining and the lively, imaginative illustrations show their polar opposite dreams of life with an iguana.


Kitty and Cat: Opposites Attract by Mirka Hokkanen



Meet Kitty! Kitty wants to play! Meet Cat. Cat just wants to nap. Bold, whimsical artwork and plenty of humor engage little ones in a sly and stylish introduction to opposites.


This deceptively simple concept book introduces readers to grumpy, old, exhausted Cat, who just wants to be left alone, and to happy, new, energetic Kitty, who longs to make friends. In a story told entirely through well-chosen pairs of opposites and drolly expressive artwork, author-illustrator Mirka Hokkanen manages to elevate the humble concept book into a true work of art—one that is bound to have readers giggling and crying for more!


Have You Seen My Invisible Dinosaur? by Helen Yoon



The creator of Sheepish (Wolf Under Cover), Off-Limits, and I’m a Unicorn brings her original whimsy to the tale of a child’s special friend who goes missing after a bath—or does he?


Help! This little girl has lost her best friend. He’s a dinosaur (not the extinct kind). He’s enormous (bigger than a panda!). He was last seen before she gave him a bath and washed off all the mud (maybe that wasn’t a good idea?). She’s tried to lure him with snacks and put up Lost Dinosaur posters, but nothing has helped. If only it weren’t such a clear day—if only it were raining, or snowing, or the leaves were falling, or . . . something. Would it help if she drew a picture? With delicate visual sleights of hand and an underlying sweetness, author-illustrator Helen Yoon invites us to see through a child’s eyes.


My Horse is a Unicorn by Matthew Ballew (Author)



Ride along and experience the special bond between a child and their horse, who is actually a unicorn, but keeps it a secret until they feel comfortable sharing it with others. Is your horse a unicorn too? Dedicated to our Neurodivergent communities and to those who sometimes feel like they are riding wild horses. Remember, you’re riding a unicorn!

This book uses gender-neutral pronouns. Suggested Age: 2-8 years


Dandelion, My House Chicken by Kim Carr (Author)



A true story for animal lovers of all ages. Can you imagine what it would be like to have a pet chicken in your house?
What do they like to eat? Are they neat housemates or messy? Are they quiet at night?


Having a pet cat or dog in the house is one thing, but a pet CHICKEN?!


Join Kim as she takes us on grand adventures around the farm with Dandelion and her duckling best friend, Buttercup. This fun and educational journey follows Dandelion and Buttercup from hatchlings to adulthood, shows us what it’s like to live on a farm, and how Dandelion manages to live INSIDE the house her family.


One More Thing


A Year in the Secret Garden



As parents, we want/need quality books with extension activities to help our young ones unplug and create memories.

Pulling books from shelves, and stories from pages is also an important act that will the habit of being life-long readers.

Quality books with companion book extension activities are not only working to create special family time but also allowing kids to solve the world’s problems without major consequences. A Year in the Secret Garden is just such a book.


Marilyn Scott-Waters and Valarie Budyar co-write this delightful children’s book, and it offers original month-by-month activities that allow readers to delve deeper into the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden.


Within the 120 pages (with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities)families will find many activities inspired by The Secret Garden that encourages them to step away from technology and enjoy getting hands and feet into the black earth of a family garden. This book will make a great gift and catalyzes many hours of family growth, learning, and FUN!


Grab your copy ASAP and “Meet me in the garden!” More details HERE!