Title: Pet Sitters: Gus Makes a Fuss
Author: Ella Shine
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Puddle Dog Press
Published: November 2020
Synopsis: Two pet sitters. One talking cat. What could possibly go wrong?
Best friends Cassie and Lina would love to take a pet to the Pet Parade but it’s not possible… until they’re asked to pet sit Gus the cat next door. The girls might be ‘ready for anything’ but Gus isn’t quite the cat they were expecting.
When best friends Cassie and Lina hear about the local Pet Parade, they long to enter it. The only glitch is that neither of them have a pet – Cassie can’t have a pet because her brother didn’t look after them, and Lina’s house is already chaotic with three younger siblings, and her parents don’t want any more chaos. But one day, their neighbour, Bernadette asks them to look after her cat, Gus. Gus is hiding a secret – a very special secret that Cassie and Lina experience when they are together with him. Gus can talk! And now the girls have their chance to enter the Pet Parade. Yet there is more to Gus than meets the eye – what is he hiding and what is it about his time with Lina and Cassie that is so special to him?
Penny Reeve, one half of the Ella Shine pen name, contacted me to review these books, and all four arrived, and I’ve started working my way through them amidst all my other reading. Cecily Paterson is Penny’s writing partner, and the name Ella Shine certainly does grab one’s attention, as does the cat on the cover and the idea of a talking cat is definitely something intriguing for readers – not just the 5-8 target age group, but for those reading the books with or to these kids, or readers who are interested in children’s fiction.
This is a beautiful story about friendship and loyalty and working hard at something you love. Gus is truly a character, revealing how much he adores Lina and Cassie in his own aloof way and showing them what they are capable of when it comes to caring for pets. It’s a great book for early readers, and those building their confidence in reading, and building a child’s literacy whilst teaching them about friendship and responsibility when it comes to caring for pets. This delightful start to the series introduces Lina, Cassie and Gus in a fun and clever way that will also be relatable to readers and sets a fast-paced yet eloquent story for younger readers that is perfect to entertain but also be used in an educational setting. It touches on the fun of friendship, the novelty of a pet, and the need to be responsible when taking care of an animal, as well as the ups and downs of growing up and becoming responsible. I loved that there was a talking cat – this made it so much fun and played on the idea that we talk to our pets and what would happen if they can talk back to us. Gus was such a fun character and reminded me of my cats that I had as a kid. Such fun! This book is perfect for animal lovers as well. I look forward to reading and reviewing the next three soon and will have those reviews up as soon as possible.