Title: Shelter Pet Squad: Merlin
Author: Cynthia Lord
Illustrator: Erin McGuire
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Summary: Suzannah is the youngest member of the Shelter Pet Squad, a group of children who volunteer at the local animal shelter on Saturdays. One week they met a new friend, Merlin the Ferret. Merlin was soft and cute and cuddly, but he was also a lot of hard work. It would take a very special person to adopt Merlin. The kids researched ferrets and made a quiz to give prospective ferret owners. The following weekend, there was a big Match-a-Thon at the mall to match people with new pets. Suzannah met a woman who loved ferrets, but she wasn’t ready to get a new one yet. No one else passed the test, so Merlin went back to the shelter. The kids had fun playing with him and making him cardboard buildings to crawl in and out of. Finally, Merlin found the perfect home… the same woman who met him at the mall! And Suzannah learned that it was okay to ask for help.
Literary Merit: Fun and interesting facts about ferrets and other pets are interspersed in the story line. Male and female characters work together, making this a story both genders would enjoy reading.
Kid Appeal: Kids who love animals will enjoy reading this story. It’s got strong characters and rich vocabulary that isn’t watered down for beginning chapter book readers.
Disclaimer: This book was nominated for the 2015 CYBILS Award in the Early Chapter Book category. This review is shared as part of the Round One Judging. It is solely my own opinion and not influenced by any other parties.