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The Big Pets

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  194 ratings  ·  54 reviews
You've never seen pets like these before!
An enormous cat that can fly to the stars
A hamster big enough to saddle up and ride
A snake that can twist itself into a jungle gym!
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 1st 1993 by Puffin (first published January 1st 1991)
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Average rating 3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  194 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Jun 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
3.5/3.75. Very cute. Art is interesting. Makes me want a giant cat. :)
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, favorites
One of my favorite childhood books. The illustrations are my favorite part- so whimsical.
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Strange and whimsical, with the most gorgeous and imaginative illustrations and ideas. I would have adored this as a child!
Sep 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I adored the concept. Though there was something off with the execution though. However, the illustrations were marvelous.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The children are small and the pets are big. But they all play together in the Milk-Pools, the Scratchy Forest, and the place where the Stringy Vines tease. There are snakes that twist into jungle gyms, a cat that can fly to the stars, hamsters and even crickets . . . and each one has a special place where the wishes of the small children and the big pets can come true.

Imagination rules in this inviting tale sure to enthrall young readers. Fanciful illustrations complement the sparse text and
This book was a little weird. I'm not gonna lie. As I read this, I was a little confused, but I enjoyed the trip into dream land. It was imaginative and unexpected. All in all, not a bad experience.
mary dewley
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not what I expected. I liked some of the aspects, like a giant scratching forests for cats and the boneyard for the dogs. Some of the illustrations are Americana meets Tim Burton. The cat and dogs were cute, the children and other pets were terrifying. Reminded me of Smon, Smon!
McKenzie Richardson

The pictures in this book are phenomenal. Very whimsical and dream-like.
The book itself doesn't have much of a story, it is more just a description of the world. But the book is still fascinating because of the pictures.
Great for young children, especially cat-lovers.
Lynn  Davidson
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this beautifully illustrated book children's pets are very big, far bigger than usual.
Chou Yuko
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 10, 2011 rated it liked it
The Big Pets by Lane Smith is a story about a little girl and her journey with her big pet cat. They travel through the stars and see other children with their big pets. For example, there was a land of snakes, where the children would roll and tumble with them. The story brings a child's imagination to life as they dream. What child wouldn't want to take their pet on a journey where the pet is big instead of them? Smith's story and illustrations are simple, but it only adds to the fact that ...more
Shannon Wasgatt
Oct 15, 2013 rated it liked it
The Big Pets is about a girl and her pet cat. At night they travel to an imaginary land with other kids and their extra large sized pets. The cats get to play in big milk pools, while the dogs go to the bone garden.

The front and back cover is a wrap around illustration of the cat and the girl. They are in what looks like a solar system with stars and a moon hanging from strings. The girl is standing on a star and the cat is about to claw the moon. The cat and the girl are both looking at each
Judy Lindow
Jun 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The Big Pets is similar to The Wild Things. It's got the same huge headed beasts - but in this case familiar, domestic animals - and uses the context of a child's dream state to stretch imagination. I like books that help us consider animals outside of the usual "Farm" or "pet" contexts. The story and illustrations have a dark fantastical feeling - but tame, compared to anything with Neil Gaiman originality. There's nothing too scary or surprising, like Eric Carl's The Serpent Who Ate His Tail. ...more
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved how his illations were 3D almost, in the first picture the cats ear was barely out of the box where the illustration was and it rely made it seem to pop right off the page and he seems to continue this throughout the book as well. Its a great night time book because of its very calm colors and also night setting of the book in general. The story didn't have much of a plot but I feel the illustrations are what really catches your eye in reading this book which is a good and bad thing ...more
Katie Williams
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is good for teaching kids that we all have differences; differences in what we prefer, like, love, have fun doing, etc. and that those differences are okay to have. We are not all the same, so children should not expect their peers to like the same things as them and become disappointed or mean in response. You could also have student connect with one another by talking about what pets they may have or what pet they would like to have. This could build on the community in the classroom ...more
Amanda Stacy
The Big Pets is about a small girl who travel to different places are almost plains on her big cat. The first place is a place where they can swim in and drink milk called the milky way. In the different plains they see different animals and other children playing. There are all different types of animals, such as dogs, snakes and crickets. They play with a small boy on a big dog in the bone gardens. After playing in the different places they then go home to sleep in a big basket that fits them ...more
Jen Zuvella
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
I thought The Big Pets was a cute fantasy story, but I have a feeling that elementary would enjoy another fantasy story over this one. I enjoyed reading about how the little girl met other little kids with their “big” pets throughout each destination they had. Although I believe children would like to hear and see a different fantasy story, this book could keep children interested by the “big” pets. The pictures illustrate a wide variety of cats, dogs, snakes, and hamsters. This book was also a ...more
Megan Goss
Oct 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The cover looks interesting and whimsical featuring a giant cat and a little girl hanging with the stars on a string. The illustrations are framed (viewing through a window) and look like they are painted which make them appear very dream-like. Sometimes the cat breaks the frame or he is pictured outside the frame which adds even more interest to the images. The text is imaginative with words like “milk pool” and “night children.” It looks like a fun world where children play with their big ...more
Dec 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
I was not impressed with this book. The story meandered around and didn't seem to have much of a purpose or a plot. The illustrations were weird, but not in an endearing way. I thought this book needed help - it was lacking something that would have made it decent. I don't have many books written by Lane Smith I don't like, but this is one of them.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Personally, I found The Big Pets to be similar to the story of The Wild Things with domestic pets instead of monsters. I think children would enjoy this book because if they have pets, they could use their imagination by connecting their pets with the ones in the story. However, I thought that there could be more text added because there was not a lot of information or storyline. The illustrations were great though!
Paul  Hankins
An earlier Smith offering wherein a young girl goes out by night on her giant cat and meets other children with their giant pets. Some questions posed by Smith and the illustrations about why the children's pets opt to come to this place instead of others suggested that might be better suited for that particular animal. I just want to cut out some of these pictures and frame them for some room that could use the creativity and whimsy generated by Smith's work.
Katie O'brien
This is another book I never read as a kid but it is about a little girl who goes on an adventure with her big pet cat. While she's exploring she sees other children with their big pets. This book shows children that everyone is different and that our differences make us special and unique. This book promotes individuality and can be incorporated in the classroom but celebrating student's differences. The pictures are also cute and engaging, overall I think this is a great book for children.
A wonderful introduction to a writing lesson focused on dreams and imaginative writing. Perfect for the students who are passionate about their pets and connecting them to literacy through personal interests.
"I chose to read this book to you today because I love my pets and this book made me day dream about what it would be like to ride on the back of my cat to a different land" "If you could travel with your pet, where do you think you would go?"
The illustrations were great and very whimsical, but the story itself didn't really impress me much. It was rather boring to be completely honest. I think children mya like it for the illustrations and the fact that it contains animals.

If I were to use this in the classroom, I would use it when discussing family pets or dreams.
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Even though this story doesn't seem to have much of a point or overall plot I still think its an entertaining book that young students might find interesting. It initiates imagination and may be relate-able to those students who have pets.
Alison Tripp
Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Fictional piece with interesting illustrations but a fairly thin/boring plot. I don't see this being very useful in a lesson unless you were talking about family pets and you asked "Does your pet like to do any of these things?" "What else does your pet like to do?" as writing prompts.

I'm not usually a big fan of straight-up fantasy in picture books, but this was a gorgeous story about a young girl who explores the world of giant pets with her giant cat. Beautiful pictures and sensory writing.
Laree Brown
Feb 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-aloud
This is a good book to read for a Read Aloud. I think that younger children will find this book to be funny and engaging.
The Brothers
Jan 21, 2016 rated it liked it
A somewhat odd, dreamy sort of book about what children do with their over-sized pets. Covers quite a variety from cats and dogs to hamsters and a cricket.

Really neat illustrations.
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Smith was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but moved to Corona, California at a young age. He spent summers in Tulsa, however, and cites experiences there as inspirations for his work, saying that "[o]nce you've seen a 100-foot cement buffalo on top of a donut-stand (sic) in the middle of nowhere, you're never the same."

He studied art in college at the encouragement of his high school art teacher, helping
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