soup of the day: me want pet! by tammi sauer and bob shea

Bears want chocolate rocks and pretzel sticks.

You want rocks? You want sticks? You want cute Cave Boy and pets?

More important, you want PREHISTORIC PARTY??!!

Ooga, baby, you’ve come to the right place! We’re capping off the official Me Want Pet! Blog Tour with a peek inside this brand new picture book, officially released this week, by two of the funniest, most popular creators in the field today: quacky, monster-loving Tammi Sauer and the primitive but potty-trained Bob Shea. Tammi and Bob will also talk about their pets in a bit, and of course we have lots of grub for everyone, so please stick around. ☺

First, l’accoutrements. Can’t have a proper Cave Boy celebration without clubs! Grab this, but mind how you use it. Twirl it, cuddle it, tap dance with it, but no violence, please.


Next, your official Woolly Mammoth hat. This is especially good if you’re having a bad hair day.


We also have furry caveman feet. Put them on to channel your inner troglodyte. Stomp and romp to your heart’s content!


Finally, dial your brain down to one syllable words like “Ug,” “gah,” and “dodo.” What? “Dodo” has two syllables? Just making sure you’re paying attention.

Now, as you may have heard by now (and if you haven’t, where the heck have you been?), Me Want Pet! is a brilliant spin on the age-old, “kid wants a pet” story. Our little Cave Boy yearns for a pet to call his own, but runs into the usual parental unit resistance.

He had a lot of things:

What about this woolly mammoth?

Mama says, “He too big.” Of course Cave Boy is disappointed. But he doesn’t give up. He continues to search high and low for something else.

Saber-toothed tigers are good, right? Only if your father isn’t allergic to them. Bah! Cave Boy searches again, “across grasslands,” “over seas,” “through forests.” He chances upon an orphaned baby dodo bird. This has got to be the perfect pet — not too big, no cat allergies. But Gran doesn’t approve; the bird’s not potty-trained. No dodo doo doo allowed in the cave.

Understandably, Cave Boy is devastated . . . until a certain rumbling is heard. Buffalo Stampede! Cave Boy dives in to save the Dodo, “with a little help from his friends.” The family cheers, realizing that sometimes oversized, sneeze-inducing pets can come in handy. Happy ending — not one pet, but three.

This book? Me like!

Have you ever tried to write a completely satisfying story with great read aloud potential, a child-centric emotional core, lots of suspense, excitement, and humor in under 250 words? Enter Tammi’s genius writing chops! She’d long wanted to write a pet story, but didn’t want to do the same-old, same-old, and the prehistoric pet idea came to her in the PetSmart parking lot. Ooga! She nails the Stone Age lingo. Tiny trogs tots, whose language of choice is also largely monosyllabic, will eat this one up.

Bob Shea is the perfect illustrator for this story. As many of you know, he has vast experience when it comes to prehistoric creatures and their basic needs. He’s created a very emotive Cave Boy. Thick, heavy outlines “mimic strokes of charcoal,” aptly primitive. The characters with their primal utterances take center stage on plain backgrounds. Alternate light and dark tones echo the ups and downs of Cave Boy’s optimism and disappointment, inside the cave and out. Kirkus says, “His uncluttered, digital compositions sport bold color contrasts and pleasing patterns, offering a comprehensible but dynamic interpretation of this satisfying, circular tale.” Also love the kiddie cave drawings on the endpapers and cover. ☺

After loudly grunting my approval for this book, I asked Bob and Tammi about their pets — those they had in their childhood as well as the ones who live with them now.

Bob: I had a dog named Duke. He was the best dog in the whole wide world ever. On rainy days, my brothers and I would make him chase us around. We would yell,”Oh no! A lion!” and throw a blanket on him. Duke thought that was hilarious. 

[Today] I don’t have any pets. Now that I’m grown up I’m allergic. So is my son.

Tammi: On my family’s farm, we had lots of animals. We had a horse, cows, ducks, chickens, geese, a rooster that would peck you if you ever got too close, cats, dogs, and hundreds of pigs. What I really wanted was a hamster. My heart ached for a hamster. Or a unicorn. Alas, neither was meant to be.

Snowball Sauer: “Me want Milk Bone.”

The pets at the Sauer house include one dog (Snowball), two geckos (Lizzy and Spreckles), and a tank full of random fish. Oh. And a giant Madagascar hissing cockroach.

My daughter wants to be a veterinarian. She loves animals and she loves insects. One summer, she attended a camp called Bugmania. On the last day, her camp counselor came up to me and asked, “Is it okay if Julia comes home with a bug?” I said, “Sure.” I thought Julia would choose one of the ladybugs. Or a butterfly. Instead, she came home with Lightning, the giant Madagascar hissing cockroach who has lived in my house (on purpose) for four long years.

Can you guess which gecko is Speckles?

Whoa-ga! Remind me not to visit the Sauers. That giant cockroach could probably eat a lot of soup and devour unsuspecting writers for dessert! ☺

Speaking of which, I can hear your tummies rumbling. Please join me now in congratulating Tammi and Bob. Cornelius and Martin gathered sticks and lit the fire for today’s celebration soup, which is garnished with club cracker crumbs. No mammoths or mastodons were sacrificed for the sake of the broth. Exercise your primal instincts by slurping directly from the bowl. Express your appreciation with a grunt, ug, gah, or wah. Now, you eat soup!

Today’s Special: Stone Age Soup (will get you rockin’ in no time)

Brave Cornelius loved this story so much, he pretended to be a caveman and went salmon hunting. He’s been feasting on other raw foods, too. Please enjoy a salmon bite with your soup:

via Fado Irish Pub/Atlanta

Hunting is not my forté, but I can manage a little gathering. Wrap your lips around some roasted chestnuts,


and fresh berry salad.

via cabin organic

Yes, I know you’re ready for dessert. First, some Caveman Cookies. Those unfamiliar with these should know they’re appropriate for Paleolithic Diets — 100% natural, gluten and dairy free, made with honey, nuts and berries.


Our pièce de résistance, a handcrafted DoDo Cake created by uber-amazing British sugar and cake sculpture artist, Michelle Wibowo:


Too beautiful to eat? Well then, help yourself to a tigery cupcake:

via Pure Paper Extract

There now! That should tide you over until the Neolithic Period. Grab your animal skin money pouches and head on down to your local indie, or if you’re a high tech trog, click through to your fave online bookseller to purchase your very own copy of Me Want Pet! If you go to a bricks and mortar store, wear animal print clothing (best to leave your clubs at home to avoid scaring the other customers). Don’t forget the secret password, OOGA, and use your best Cave Speak when talking to the cashier.


Like your tusks!

Me Want Pet!

Book on Sale?

Thanks. You Rock!

Keep the change. ☺

Happy Pub Day, Tammi and Bob!! 

written by Tammi Sauer
illustrated by Bob Shea
published by Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 2012
Full-color Picture Book for ages 3-7, 40 pp. 
Cool themes: Animals, pets, friendship, families, humor, social issues
On shelves now!

♥ Tammi Sauer’s official website and LiveJournal blog. You have until tomorrow, March 10th, to enter Tammi’s Me Want Pet! Giveaway!

♥ Bob Shea’s official website. Check out his Prehistoric Art Lesson videos here.

Move giveaways:

  • Get your kids to draw a picture of Cave Boy and his new pet! Full details at Tara Lazar’s Writing for Kids (While Raising Them). Deadline: March 13th.
  • Click over to Sharon Mayhew’s Random Thoughts and OOGA sometime before March 22nd.
  • Yet ANOTHER chance to win a copy of Me Want Pet!: Click through to Banana Peelin’ and show off your very best Cave Speak. Deadline: March 11th.

♥ Reviews: Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus

Me Want Pet! Blog Tour Stops:

♥ More Soup of the Day posts here.

Me like you!


*Spreads posted by permission, text copyright © 2012 Tammi Sauer, illustrations © 2012 Bob Shea, published by Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

27 thoughts on “soup of the day: me want pet! by tammi sauer and bob shea

  1. This book looks like so much fun, Jama. My four year old niece, who lives with her own menagerie of pets, will love it. As delicious as the goodies look, what I really want is the Woolly Mammoth hat.


  2. Jama – you’ve outdone yourself! Where on earth does one find an image of caveman slippers??? Of course, Tammi and Bob deserve no fewer than all cave accolades that we may heap upon them. Loved seeing so many interior pages from the book. Bravo!


    1. Hi Laci!

      Thanks for visiting. This is a fun read aloud — what’s better than practicing your best cave speak for a captive audience?


  3. I would’ve thought the geckoes and the cockroach would not coexist. Shows what I know!


  4. This looks really fun — can’t wait to check it out. I’m a big fan of Tammi’s Chicken Dance, which I often use in writing workshops when I want to illustrate great stories loaded with drama, humor and puns (and featuring an Elvis look-alike).

    Thanks for another terrific post. I just hope I can get the image of Lightning out of my head . . .


  5. Others seem to know this author but she’s new to me. This is great. I know little kids would love it. I love the words. Can’t you just imagine reading this to four year olds? “No dodo doo doo allowed in the cave.” They would literally fall over laughing! Thanks Jama, & the photos are marvelous.


    1. The “dodo doo doo” came from me, but otherwise, the words are indeed very funny and perfectly tuned to kids’ ears :D. Tammi is amazing — five (5) !! picture books being published in 2012!


  6. What fun! I want the wooly mammoth hat. And I wouldn’t mind meeting the cockroach but my adventuresome spirit doesn’t go so far as to want to live with one.


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