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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Great Idea, Fanny! by Maureen Baggett is a beautifully illustrated book which details the lives of Fanny and Irving – newlyweds who decide to move to the country. They catch the train from Virginia to Wyoming and live on a farm. Fanny’s favorite animal is a cat, but Irving does not like cats. He buys her a bird cage and tells her that she can trap a stray cat and tame it. Disappointed, Fanny agrees to his suggestion, before telling Irving they need fresh milk for the children. Fanny buys two goats. Irving asks Fanny why she did not buy a cow, to which she replies that a cow is too big. Fanny next decides they should have fresh eggs on the farm. Irving agrees but when he comes home from work, he finds nine red roosters. He explains to Fanny that roosters do not lay eggs, leading her to exchanging eight of the roosters for eight hens. Fanny then decides the children need a horse. Irving agrees but when he comes home, he finds a small pony instead. Finally, Fanny sees and traps a pretty stray cat which is in the chicken house. Irvin comes home to find his wife and children gathered around the table, talking to a skunk in the bird cage. He grabs the cage, runs outside, is chased by the pony, drops the cage and is sprayed by the skunk before it runs away. One week later (when the skunk smell is finally gone), Irving returns to work and comes home with a kitten for his wife.
Having grown up on a farm, I could relate to so much of this book which was quite realistic and very funny. Fanny wanted at least one animal for the farm and ended up with many, all of which brought good health to her family. The trapping of the stray cat, as her husband had suggested, and the resulting hilarity of Irving’s reaction led to Fanny being granted her wish of having a farm cat. Great Idea, Fanny! by Maureen Baggett is very cleverly written, with the great illustrations showing the difference between what Irving thinks and what he hears.