Children Make Terrible Pets - Thao Lam
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Children Make Terrible Pets

Children Make Terrible Pets

Children Make Terrible Pets

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You know that feeling you get when you are riding a roller coaster? Fear and excitement rolled together! Screaming for your life in terror, and so excited you want to hurl! That pretty much sums up how I feel about my upcoming camping trip. I agreed to spend three days in the woods before finding out that the site was infested with S-N-A-K-E-S (insert screaming for your life in terror). As of 2004 there had been 617 snake sightings and those were the reported sightings. Fast-forward to 2011 and I can only imagine the numbers, so you see I am not exaggerating when I call it an infestation. To the other campers who have the unfortunate timing of being there the same weekend as me: I apologize in advance if you happen cross paths with a tiny shrieking Asian lady. Don’t be alarmed, she is more afraid of you than you are of her. Keep reading…

I just pray to God that nothing crawls into my bag and comes back home with me because S-N-A-K-E-S make terrible pets. Wild animals make terrible pets, even the two-leg kind. I am talking about K-I-D-S. Children Make Terrible Pets, written and illustrated by Peter Brown, would make a hilarious gift for expecting parents.

Lucille Beatrice the Bear was practicing her twirling one day when she stumbled across a boy. Thinking he was the cutest critter in the whole forest, she took him home and begged her mom “Can I keep him, PLEASE?” Even after being warned that children make terrible pets, Lucy set out to prove her mother wrong. Lucy and Squeaker became inseparable. They did everything together, but it wasn’t all fun and games! In the end, Lucy learned a valuable lesson; children do make terrible pets.

I dare say this is probably my favorite book from the Peter Brown collection. The art and design of the book was so well thought out! Rendered in pencil on a tan colour background, Peter smudges the edges of the pencil drawings, giving the illustrations a warm soft glow. The soft hued earthy colours are different from Peter’s usual palette of candy colours. The variety of wooden panels that frame the illustrations lend nicely to the wilderness theme of the story. Another wonderful detail Peter added are handwritten dialogues written on construction paper, cut out in shapes of speech bubbles and placed in the scene. This is nicely contrasted by the narration placed in rectangular shapes. Keeping the age group of his readers in mind, Peter colour-coded the dialogue so younger readers who are not used to speech bubbles can easily follow along.

There are plenty of laughs in Children Make Terrible Pets but there is also a valuable lesson about the proper treatment and respect of animals, both at home and in the wild.

P.S. I would like to dedicate this entry to all my girlfriends who have kids. I am amazed at their sense of humor on those days when it’s not all fun and games.

Children Make Terrible Pets, a children’s book review by Thao Lam

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Author and Illustrator Peter Brown

I don’t think I have to introduce you to Peter Brown (a regular on B is for Books) or tell you how super awesome he is. Check out my collections of his books Chowder and The Curious Garden, both previously profiled on B is for Books.

To learn more about Peter Brown, please visit his website:

Publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 7, 2010)

ISBN-10 0316015482

ISBN-13 978-0316015486