Whiskers goes viral in this fourth zany novel in a chapter book series where the fur—and fun—flies at an animal spa and hotel.
The Animal Inn is an all-inclusive pet resort/hotel/center/spa for animals from dogs to rabbits, cats to ducks, parrots to lizards. From doggie and kitty daycare, to grooming, and group play—you name it, and the Animal Inn has it.
The Inn is run by the Tyler family along with their pets Leopold, the Macaw; Fuzzy and Furry, the gerbils; dogs Dash and Coco; felines Shadow and Whiskers; and a rollicking horde of animal visitors.
When Whiskers becomes an unexpected internet star after a hilarious post becomes an online sensation, Whiskers and the Tylers are invited to NYC for a morning TV show interview. The Tylers rent an RV and take the whole family for the fur-tastic experience. Even though Whiskers is a bit full of himself with his newly found internet fame, he’s also super nervous! Will his fame translate to the TV screen—or is he destined to stay a meme forever?
It began like any other Saturday morning at Animal Inn—busy!
On Saturdays, Mom teaches her Polite Puppies class. That’s when a herd of little yippers invades the inn. They come to learn some manners. And trust me, they have a lot of work to do.
Dad and Jake also host the Furry Pages. That’s when children read aloud to an animal buddy.
Plus, there are grooming appointments and usually a birthday party or two.
Saturday is my favorite day of the week, and not because I’m a big fan of puppies. It’s my favorite day because the front door is always opening and closing, giving me plenty of chances to sneak outside.
On this particular morning, my little brother Whiskers was curled up on the sofa in the Welcome Area. Leopold was on his perch, and Dash and Coco were out for a walk with Mom and Cassie.
I was hiding behind the sofa, waiting for things to start hopping when I heard Dad, Jake, and Ethan coming down the stairs.
“I’ll be outside if you need me, boys,” said Dad. “I want to clear the leaves from the walkway before our first guests arrive. I can’t wait to try my new leaf blower.”
Dad paused before opening the front door. “I see you hiding back there, Shadow,” he said with a smile. He quickly opened the door and closed it behind him.
“Are you ready, Ethan?” asked Jake.
I peeked out to see Ethan carefully holding Dad’s smartphone.“I’m ready,” said Ethan. “Action!”
“Welcome to Animal Inn,” Jake said to the camera. “Here at Animal Inn we promise to love your pet as much as you do. My name is Jake. Today we are going to show you Saturday chores. First on our list, we tidy up the brochures.”
“Cut!” said Ethan.
“What’s the problem?” asked Jake.
“It doesn’t make sense to show brochures in a web video,” said Ethan.
“Good point,” said Jake. “This information is all online anyway. I’ll skip that part and go straight to feeding the pets.”
“Okay,” said Ethan. “Action!”
“Our first morning chore is to feed the Animal Inn pets,” said Jake. He walked toward the supply closet.
I slinked out from behind the sofa to see what would be for breakfast.
“Cut!” said Ethan again.
“What now?” asked Jake.
“Everybody knows we feed the pets,” said Ethan. “This is supposed to be a super-cool video for our website. What’s the next chore?”
“Sweeping the Welcome Area,” said Jake with a sigh.
“That isn’t very exciting,” said Ethan.
I looked around. Ethan was right. The Welcome Area wasn’t very exciting at the moment. Leopold was preening his feathers, and my little brother Whiskers was already dozing.
“Let’s give it one more try,” said Jake.
Ethan held up the phone. “Action!” he said.
Just then, Dad appeared outside the window with the leaf blower strapped to his back. He wore big safety goggles and ear-protection headphones. Leaves whipped and spun all around him.
Paul DuBois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender are a husband and wife writing team, authors of many books for children, including the Animal Inn series, Count on the Subway, My Subway Ride, and My Taxi Ride. Paul has also cowritten four books with legendary folk musician, Pete Seeger, including Abiyoyo Returns and The Deaf Musicians. Paul and Jennifer have appeared at Lincoln Center, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Virginia Festival of the Book, as well as countless schools, libraries, and museums. They live in Massachusetts.
Stephanie Laberis is a freelance illustrator and character designer for animation. Originally from New England, she now lives in Northern California with her wonderful partner, a couple of felines, and a handful of rodents. Her love for art is rivaled only by her love for animals, and she spends her spare time as a volunteer wildlife rehabber. She loves painting, needle felting, and losing herself in a good video game.