In Peter Brown’s Children Make Terrible Pets, (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 40 pp., $16.99), an enthusiastic, tutu-wearing young bear named Lucy tries to adopt a lost human toddler as a pet. Author-illustrator Brown explains that the idea for the book stems from his own childhood when he brought home a frog he found in the woods and his mother asked him, “Would you like it if a wild animal made YOU its pet?”
Lucy’s mother doesn’t like the idea much either. “Children make terrible pets!” she tells Lucy, but her daughter begs to keep Squeaker (she names the toddler after the only sound he makes) and it all goes wonderfully – at least for an hour or two.
Eventually, however, it begins to dawn on Lucy that caring for Squeaker is going to be quite hard work – at which point she’s happy to take him home to his parents. It all makes for a charming story – and perhaps a useful reality check for children eager to take on challenging pets.