When we were younger, who didn’t go off outside to play and come back with a new pet animal? A turtle, butterfly, ladybug, anything cute made for a great pet. And we were always so sad when our parents told us we had to put them back in the the wild!
Peter Brown’s “Children Make Terrible Pets” is a hilarious reversal of those parties involved. One day a young bear named Lucy is practicing her twirling in the woods when she is startled by a sound. Well isn’t she surprised when she finds it to be a young boy, who she immediately knows she needs as a pet.
But when she brings her pet, who she names Squeakers, home to show her mother, she is less than thrilled with the idea. “Children make terrible pets,” she tells Lucy, but Lucy will not have that and convinces her mother to let her keep her pet. What comes next is a series of adventures starring Lucy and Squeakers that show the fun and the perils of taking care of an animal.
A classic scenario most all children have found themselves in provides excitement for young readers who can relate to Lucy and her new found love of her pet. Much like as humans, we cannot understand what our animals say when they talk, Lucy cannot understand the child, only hears him squeaking, hence the name Squeakers.
Along with an entertaining twist of a classic story line, Brown’s illustrations are captivating: pencil and construction paper (with a bit of digital editing) on tan backgrounds and all framed in wood. Dialogue is captured in colorful speech bubbles, all hand lettered by Brown.
This book is a simple and fun read for elementary aged students and can teach them in a way the responsibilities that go into caring for another living being.