Macmillan (now Viking), 1972
Archie wants to enter his cat in the neighborhood pet show—but where is the cat? Archie keeps on looking even after all the other kids have given up, but his pet is nowhere to be found. Ingenious Archie has a plan to enter the contest—with a most surprising creature!
Take a Closer Look
In Ezra’s last book about Peter and his gang, it’s his best friend, Archie, who shines. He’s hilariously inventive in his choice of pet and touchingly generous toward an elderly neighbor. Lively and surprising, this is a fun episode in the kids’ lives.
What makes Pet Show! stand out is Archie, who exhibits both ingenuity and kindness. There’s a lot of activity as the crowd of kids chatter, chase their pets and line up for their ribbons. But Archie’s cat is missing, so he enters the contest with an empty jar, which he says contains a germ named Al! He clearly wants to win, and does (for quietest pet). When an elderly neighbor wins a ribbon for Archie’s cat, he’s effortlessly generous. As she tries to give him the ribbon, he says, “It’s OK, you keep it. It looks good on you.” The book begins and ends with a painting of colorful doors discarded on the street. They may look like junk, but don’t presume the same about the people who have lived behind them.