Book Review: Pets in a Jar

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For every mother of a boy that has filled his pockets with dirt and earthworms, snuck a lizard inside the house, or any other creepy-crawly creature, and then in turn asked, “Can we keep it mama?” here’s a book that will help her navigate all of that natural curiosity.

In Pets In A Jar by Seymour Simon you will be introduced to fifteen living things that are common and easy to spot in your own backyard, on a nature walk through your neighborhood, or around a pond or a lake. In it you will find things like pond snails, water bugs, tadpoles, crickets, ants, and butterflies and moths, just to name a few. This is all complete with instructions on how to collect and care for these creatures.

The book starts out with an introduction to selecting a pet, what materials you will need, and even what clothing would be most appropriate for such an endeavor. There is no need for expensive equipment or gear. Household items are recommended such as a simple pickle jar, some panty hose or other kind of netting, and a wire hanger. The introduction goes on to describe how to prepare the jar and actually capture your creature safely and get it into its new home.

Besides the great detail the author gives on helping each animal to thrive in its new location, there is an entire chapter devoted to letting the wild thing go. This chapter could conveniently be read aloud to the young child and make the process of letting go that much easier. Also, there is a list of books at the end that would be useful for further reading and research.

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Something to note is that Seymour Simon encourages observation of wildlife when out walking and consideration of how the animals live and thrive in their environment. This is time well spent as children need, at times, hands on experience with God’s creation, and enough quiet time to think about what is going on around them. Children will not only be thrilled to have mom’s permission to bring their creepy-crawly in doors, but will be learning and contemplating life out of doors…. in the dirt, where exciting things are happening.

Simply put, Pets In A Jar makes it easy for mom. Get outside with a jar and collect something wiggly or slimy. Let your child look on in amazement as his ‘pet’ makes a home in a jar. Let him or her fall asleep to the sound of crickets or the sight of a tadpole swimming around and around. It will make that six to eleven year old really happy.