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Spencer's New Pet

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  497 ratings  ·  132 reviews
From the creator of Not Quite Narwhal comes a classic tale of a boy and his dog—except in this unique story, one of them is a balloon!

When Spencer gets a new pet, he’s excited to do all the things that pets do—taking walks in the park, going to the vet, and attending parties together.

There’s just one hitch: Spencer’s new pet is a balloon.

And that means No. Sharp.
Hardcover, 56 pages
Published August 27th 2019 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  497 ratings  ·  132 reviews

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Laura Harrison
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got the biggest kick out of this book. It is written like you are watching an old silent film. The title will fool you. There is a plot twist that me and a bunch of professional children's book writers and readers did not see coming. This title was actually read to us by the author at an event. The adult audience was at the end of our seats the whole time. There was real suspense! I would love if this title received some Caldecott love.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Spencer's New Pet is a master class in using page turns to their fullest and building tension in a picture book (and it's nearly wordless). It's breathtaking. A story of friendship that's like nothing you've seen before.
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I did not see that twist coming.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
The blurb inside the front cover for this wordless picture book is perfect:

"This is the classic tale of a boy and a dog. One of them just happens to be a balloon."

It's a little black-and-white silent movie of a book, with the boy and dog spending time together at home, romping in the park, visiting a birthday party, always with the dangers---the spikes of a hedgehog, the teeth of a bulldog, the pin of Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey---horrifying to a balloon.

M. Lauritano
Aug 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Abby Johnson
This is a delightful wordless picture book! Spencer has a new pet - a balloon dog - and he's taking it everywhere he goes. But danger lurks everywhere - a hedgehog's spike at the vet, a bee's stinger at the park... so many sharp things to avoid! Can Spencer keep his new pet safe?

Tension builds as Spencer and his pet carry on with their day and then there's a surprise ending! A fun and different take on pet stories. Hand this to fans of THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA by Mo Willems. :D
Holy plot twist Batman!
I love the illustration style and minimalist color palette.
ONE OF MY TOP FAVORITE KIDS BOOKS OF ALL TIME. Delightfully clever wordless story with a surprise ending. LOVED!
This primarily wordless picture book follows a young boy named Spencer and his dog. That seems simple enough until the author/illustrator changes a couple of things. First the dog is clearly a balloon animal and second, the story is told like an old silent movie with a countdown and everything. Each primary scene is introduced with a black screen shot and a few words. The action takes place completely in the illustrations. The first scene revolves around the boy's playing, feeding, and bathing ...more
Baby Bookworm
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: our-reviews

This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily!

Hello, friends! We’re back from our vacation with a new review: Spencer’s New Pet by Jessie Sima, a deliciously odd and unexpected tale.

Borrowing elements of a silent movie (such as title cards to indicate the story’s three “parts”, film grain over select spreads, and even a leader countdown), this textless story introduces us to a boy, Spencer, and his new pet… a balloon animal. Besotted with
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 stars! So sweet - love a good boy and his dog story! The red dog really “pops” on each page, the surprise ending is great fun - makes you want to read the book again. Love the little star by each threatening pointy thing, the boy reading to his dog, and of course, the border collie at the dog park!
C.L. Murphy
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful nearly wordless picture book with captivating page turns, delightful illustrations, and an ending that's unexpected.
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book flows like an old black and white movie, which is perfect for a wordless picture book. A boy and his dog go walking along, but one is a balloon. Surprise twist at the end!
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Suspense followed by relief and joy
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can HEAR the film strip countdown on the end papers. A gripping journey with an unexpected twist!
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jessie Sima does it again. I love her books!
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is going to be SO much fun to read aloud with students!
Michele Knott
Loved this one. Loved the old time cinematic feel. Loved it from the beginning to the end.
Jan Polep
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So, here's a guy whose new pet is a balloon dog and he has a struggle keeping him away from sharp objects. Clever twist...although my guy saw it coming. Friends and sharp objects. What could possibly go wrong?
Mary Lee
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love how this book is set up and illustrated with the feel and look of an old time movie. Make sure you look at the front and back of the dust jacket (brilliant blurb on the front flap) and the front and back covers. Read it all the way through, be surprised, then go back and read it again for all the clues and details. This book has it all. You'll love it!
Villain E
Sep 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A wordless book. Kind of cute, but it has a twist ending, and like anything that relies on a twist ending the rest of the book feels like it's twiddling it's thumbs until we get there.
Erin Buhr
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
Oh this is so clever. It is described as a classic tale of a boy and his dog - except in this unique story, one of them is a balloon! Entirely wordless, you follow the boy and his balloon dog through town as they narrowly evade various pointy obstacles and wind gusts. I don't know that I've ever described a wordless book as suspenseful or a page turner before, but this is definitely both. You will sit on the edge of your seat until the surprising end.
Dylan Teut
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The suspense! The drama! The climax!
And the ending! Wow! Speechless.
I've never read anything like it.
Well that was an unexpected ending. You’ll immediately have to go back and read it again.
Dan S
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Spencer’s New Pet, a wordless picture book by Jessie Sima, might be my favorite yet by the author.

The aesthetic of this book is simply marvelous. The wide dimensions evoke a cinema screen, and the largely black-and-white illustrations evoke an old-timey silent film. (Section headers even use a font that evokes the era.)

Contrasting to the grayscale is the titular pet, a bright red baloon doggy. This splash of color is really eye-catching and pleasing on the beautiful, active pages.

The book opens
Tonja Drecker
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a picture book without words, and without much color. But it's exactly this which leads young viewers to dive into a world of imagination and get lost in a very unique story.

Spencer is a young boy who receives a animal balloon, one that he treasures very much. But this balloon is also about to take him on the most amazing adventure.

I've always been mesmerized by black and white pictures which incorporate just enough color to bring details to life. Sima has down a terrific job at using
Erin Taylor
Sep 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
I agree with the other reviewers who have said that this book feels like you are twiddling your thumbs to what adds up being in service of a "shocking" ending (and at 56 pages, much longer than your average 32 or even 40 pg picture book). But once you're in on the secret, is it really going to withstand multiple readings? Compare it with a book like I Want My Hat Back, which has a surprising ending in that (you assume) the rabbit becomes a bear snack. But, it was a fun journey throughout the ...more
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A boy leaves a circus tent with a pet dog made from a red balloon. The dog walks on a leash, does tricks, and begs for treats. The two read books and sleep together, the dog snuggled under the covers. When they head to the vet, the boy notices a sharp quill on a hedgehog in the waiting room and quickly moves away. The boy and dog head to the park where the dog plays with the other dogs, chasing a Frisbee, but they leave when the boy notices the sharp teeth of a large dog. The wind catches the ...more
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is not the usual sort of new pet picture book...

Oh, but this one is clever. I won’t spoil it, but…oh, my. I laughed aloud at the pleasure of that ending…and then flipped back to re-read it. What I did notice, and will share, is the humor in just how many glinting points threatening Spencer’s pet dog as they traversed the story in 3 Parts of this silent film-inspired picture book.

I wish I could talk about how that ending adds an especially brilliant nuance to the story and how Spencer was
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really like the presentation of this book. It starts off like an old silent film, especially since the book has no words aside from the titles of the 3 parts and one sound. The illustrations are alright. I liked the black and white feel of it with only the red balloon being the only thing colored. That was clever. Lots of action in this book! Made me be on my tiptoes of what's going to happen next to the balloon dog.


I was really shocked when I learned the boy was also made from
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Jessie Sima grew up in a small town in southern New Jersey and now lives and works just outside New York City.

She is the author and illustrator of Not Quite Narwhal , Harriet Gets Carried Away , and Love, Z , and the illustrator of Snow Pony and the Seven Miniature Ponies , written by Christian Trimmer.

Visit her online at!