The Great Pet Escape (Pets on the Loose!) written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson
Bluebonnet Author Site (with author interviews, pet information, how to create your own graphic novel, discussion questions, and a ton of fun things for kids to do)
I have never been a reader of graphic novels or comic books (outside of Archie when I was a kid), but having two kids growing up in an age where these novels are becoming more and more relevant, I’m learning to embrace them quickly! (Let me sidenote that by saying that I have NO problem with graphic novels. I just didn’t read a lot of them growing up, and I’m learning that they are a bit different from traditional comics.) The Great Pet Escape (Pets on the Loose!), my fourth Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee read this year, definitely won my heart. And if there is a graphic novel to win your heart, it would be one by this author. Victoria Jamieson won the 2016-2017 Texas Bluebonnet Award for her graphic novel Roller Girl!
The Great Pet Escape begins with a fantastically sassy hamster named George Washington (GW for short). He is the second grade class pet and he wants to break out of Daisy P. Flugelhorn Elementary School. When he finally escapes from his jail/cage, he goes to the other classrooms looking for his friends. When he discovers that they actually LIKE being class pets, he feels betrayed. They eventually agree to go with him, but a dictator-ish mouse named Harriet gets in the way. Mayhem ensues.
This book is really cute, but not in an insipid way. There are plenty of jokes in there that adults will also find amusing if they’re reading it out loud. Both of my kids loved it and have re-read it multiple times. The illustrations are wonderful, each pet has a distinctive personality, and if you enjoy reading to your kids, this is a fun one for that!
Jamieson clearly knows what she’s doing, and I’m glad that her books are opening my eyes to how great graphic novels can be. My kids, especially my 8-year-old, love them, and now I do too!