The Tinklers three: The perfect pet by M.C. Badger
Hardie Grant Egmont, 2014. ISBN 9781742976273
Meet The Tinklers - three children, Marcus, Mila and Turtle, who live by themselves in a high-rise apartment while their parents travel as circus performers - their father is a tightrope walker, and their mother rides a white horse. Marcus is eight, is level-headed and wants to be an inventor. Mila is ten, loves ice cream and can't wait to join the circus. Turtle is three, believes she is a turtle and wants to be a shark when she grows up. All three believe they do not need an adult to look after them and have developed a strategy of standing next to a likely adult should someone start looking for their parents.
In this adventure, the 4th in the series, they have decided to get a pet. Mila, who likes to make up rules, says they have fulfilled the requirements of being good, eating extra icecream every day and standing on one leg when brushing their teeth. So the time has come. But agreeing on just which sort of pet to get becomes an issue until Mila's eyes light on something most unusual. As she says when she sees all the other usual offerings, 'These pets are OK for other people but we are the Tinklers and we need something different.' She persuades the others and the petshop owner and so off they go. But things don't work out quite as planned and the pet has to be set free. How will their desire for a pet that is perfect be solved?
This is a new series by Ms Badger which starts with A very good idea, The coolest pool and An excellent invention written for the newly independent reader who is ready for novels but still needs the support of short chapters, a larger font and imaginative illustrations. The concept of a family free to do as they choose without parental constraints or responsibilities (like who pays for their apartment) will appeal to young readers and they will love its quirkiness and humour as their imaginations take them to a similar situation.
If you are looking for a new series to introduce students to, this could be it.