“Ashley Wants a Pet” by Jestina Hodge-Pais

“Ashley Wants a Pet” by Jestina Hodge-Pais 175 175 Reader Views Kids

Ashley Wants a Pet

Jestina Hodge-Pais
Independently Published (2023)
ISBN: 979-8378131679
Reviewed by Lydia (age 9) for Reader Views Kids (4/23)

The story “Ashley Wants a Pet” is about a little girl named Ashley, who really wants a pet of her own. Since she was little, she would talk to her mom about it, but her mom would always say that it is a big responsibility and that maybe she can get one when she is older.

Ashley keeps asking about it year after year, with her mom always saying something, like she isn’t old enough yet, or she’s still not ready quite yet. A couple of years later, when she is 8 years old, she and her mom go to visit the animal shelter and Ashley asks to volunteer; she is told that she isn’t old enough to do it on her own yet, but she can still work when an adult is with her. Ashely goes every day to work with a special dog, where she feeds and plays with her and starts to become attached. Eventually, she is allowed to adopt the dog named Mila, and both Ashley and Mila learn together about trusting and treating other people and animals with respect and love.

I enjoyed reading “Ashley Wants a Pet” because I also really like pets, but for me, it’s more so cats instead of dogs. I have an animal shelter close by where I live, and while I don’t volunteer there, I do go sometimes to play with the animals and notice how much they want and enjoy playing with me. I learned things from the story about animals and the process of getting an animal for the first time; I did not know about puppy mills, and this makes me sad to think about. Thankfully, the story is mostly happy though, with Ashley working for what she wants and learning along the way.

A Note from Mom: “Ashley Wants a Pet” would be a good read for any kid, as it is common that younger kids (and adults alike) gravitate toward puppies and kittens and baby animals at face value, without realizing that there is more to be known and explored related to where they came from. As the story states, having a pet is a lifelong responsibility that, as the animal shelters are showing, many people either weren’t warned about initially or don’t care about. It can be hard as a parent to feel like you are depriving your child of something that they seem so passionate about at the moment, but the author did well to showcase Ashley’s mother as one who thinks things through, as evident in making her wait for what she said she wanted when she was five years old until she was older and was more (not completely though) emotionally and mentally mature to care for another living being.

The overall message of the story is appropriate for any age of reader that can be read as mere kindness, but when the reader learns more about the author, they will find that Christian undertones are prominent in the message. 

1 comment
  • Keturah

    I like the book “Ashley wants a pet” I read the book with my granddaughter. The book introduces children to the responsibilities of owning a pet and that pets are family too. It also introduces children to the good work done by the humane society. My granddaughter asked if she could have a pet while reading the book. She had chicks as a 5 year old and did not do a good job cleaning up for them. She promised to take a more active role in caring for any pet she gets in the future.

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