Title: Children Make Terrible Pets
Author: Peter Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: 2010
Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
Genre: Children's books, Picture books
How I Got It: the library
When Lucy, a young bear, discovers a boy in the woods, she's absolutely delighted. She brings him home and begs her mom to let her keep him, even though her mom warns, "Children make terrible pets." But mom relents, and Lucy gets to name her new pet Squeaker.
Through a series of hilarious and surprising scenes, readers can join Lucy and Squeakers on their day of fun and decide for themselves whether or not children really do make terrible pets.
Lucy is an exuberant, melodramatic, beribboned young bear. One day, "while practicing her twirls" Lucy realized that she was being watched. She demanded that her "secret admirer" show himself, and the little boy did, with a squeak. Lucy jumped up and down and enthusiastically declared him "the cutest critter in the WHOLE forest!" The little boy just squeaks. Because, really, what would you do when faced with a bear wearing a tutu? She immediately takes him home to show off to her mother.
Lucy: "MOM! Look what I found outside! I call him Squeaker because he makes funny sounds."
Little Boy: "Squeak!"
Lucy: "See, isn't he the cutest? Can I keep him, PLEASE?"
Lucy doesn't believe her mother's warning that children make terrible pets. Mom relents, but only after declaring that Squeaker is Lucy's responsibility. Lucy agrees, and then she and Squeaker run off to have the BEST DAY EVER!
They play together, they eat together, they even nap together. But it wasn't all wonderful.
Squeaker was impossible to potty train, he ruined the furniture, and caused loads of problems (from tracking in mud to starting a food fight at a tea party).
Lucy begins to get really frustrated when Squeaker disappears. Lucy looked in all of his usual hiding spots but he was nowhere to be found.
Just when she was just about to dramatically give up hope, her "sensitive nose caught a whiff of her Squeaker!" She followed Squeaker's trail until she found him... at home. But now Squeaker didn't seem like a pet anymore, he had a family that he needed to stay with. So Lucy said good-bye to her little fella. And at the end of it all, she had learned a very valuable lesson.
Lucy: "You were right, Mom. Children DO make terrible pets."
Mom: "They really are the worst."
This story just begs to be read with shouting, and drama, bouncing, squeaking, and swooning onto the floor. It was made for me. Lucy is just fantastic and throws herself, 100%, into whatever she's doing. Even if it isn't a very good idea. The illustrations are fantastic. I'm sure you've noticed that they aren't the usual watercolor style that I love, but they are so cool. Brown used color pencils to draw on construction paper that was mounted on wood. He also uses a "wee bit of digital tweaking", though you would never be able to tell. The speech bubbles were also hand lettered by Brown. All of the illustrations have this lovely warm and layered look, and Lucy is just a fantastic and expressive character. I haven't read this to a class yet, but I know kids are going to enjoy the absurdity of a child as a pet and will be delighted with the over-the-top Lucy.
The warm and detailed illustrations and the adorable story make this a book that children will enjoy over and over again. This book also gives parents a nice opening to discuss the responsibilities and work of taking care of a pet. Children Make Terrible Pets will become part of my family's library. Even if you don't buy it, I highly recommend checking out today and sharing it with your family. 6 stars people, it's great!