Title: Children Make Terrible Pets
Author/Illustrator: Peter Brown
Published: Little, Brown and Company, 2010
Have you ever wandered through a forest and wondered what it would be like to borrow one or ten of the woodland creatures to take home and keep for a pet? Well, I have. So many times. Personally, I’d go for a baby chipmunk or potentially a wayward capybara. (Note: don’t say this never happens…a pair of capybaras escaped from High Park in Toronto a couple of years back…and I’m not gonna lie, I searched the park in hopes of putting a leash on one of those giant rodents and pretending it was my strangely shaped dog.)
Anyway, let’s meet Lucy!
Who’s Lucy? A bear. Lucille Beatrice Bear, to be precise. She is the star of the extremely talented Peter Brown’s book, Children Make Terrible Pets (and subsequently, You Will Be My Friend! – to be reviewed at a later date).
This delightful picture book starts with Lucy practicing her twirls outside (as one does). She notices that someone is watching her…and it turns out to be a human boy! Unfortunately, Lucy cannot understand what he’s saying…but he does squeak rather nicely, so she calls him Squeaker. She decides he will be her pet. Her mom, however, isn’t so sure. She warns Lucy about what a lot of trouble children are, and tries to talk her out of it.
But Lucy knows Squeaker will make a great pet. And at first, he does. They do all kinds of fun things together. They are totally inseparable. (Side note: my favourite picture in the entire book is when Lucy and Squeaker nap together. I looked into getting a print of that picture for my kids…I love it SO much…more on the art in a minute.)
After a little while, Lucy notices that Squeaker isn’t such a perfect pet after all. He throws food! He wrecks the furniture! He’s impossible to potty train. And then…he disappears!
Lucy tracks Squeaker down and finds that he’s returned to his family. She knows, deep down, that that’s where he belongs. With her Mom’s help, she accepts the fact that maybe children do make terrible pets.
…but what about an elephant?
This story is excellent. If you notice, in the picture above, our copy is a wee bit loved. I’ve read this to my girls so many times since they were tiny. My oldest has a special spot in her heart for Lucy (and named one of her teddy bears after her). The art in this book is just lovely to look at. The backgrounds being wood-grain add nicely to the ‘forest-y’ feel of the whole story. Lucy is such a well-designed character and her mom is so funny (I love her half-glasses and pearls). There are so many sweet little scenes in this story, and I would get posters of all of them for my office if I could.
I don’t know who loves this book more, me or my kids! Give it a read and see for yourself – Peter Brown is amazing.
Mama’s review: A+
Vivi’s review: 10 Squeakers/10
Lily’s review: I like the kangaroo costume!