Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Children Make Terrible Pets

Brown, Peter (Author/Illustrator)
Little, Brown 2010. 36 pages
First published: 2010
ISBN: 9780316015486 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, dialogue, point of view, recurring patterns

Award

Ezra Jack Keats Book Award – 2011

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

When Lucy, a young bear, comes across a lost boy in the woods, she wants to keep him as a pet. But Mama is reluctant, arguing “Children make terrible pets.” Lucy soon learns that Mama may have been right. “Squeaker” is impossible to train and wreaks havoc wherever he goes. After Squeaker disappears one day, returning to his suburban habitat, Lucy stumbles upon a new and equally unsuitable playmate—an elephant!

Simple yet engaging, the narrated text is set on strips of blue construction paper, while the characters’ speech appears on pink hand-lettered word balloons. Children will find many scenes amusing, including one of the frustrated Squeaker in a litter box, “impossible to potty train,” and another of the love-struck Lucy eyeing her next unlikely victim.

Cartoon artwork, rendered in pencil, includes cut construction paper, wood grain and some digital tweaking that results in a country, retro feel.

Beyond the obvious humour in this twist on pet ownership, this lighthearted read-aloud could launch a discussion on the appropriateness of adopting wild animals as pets.

  •  

    Generate a list of people, animals or items that would make terrible pets. Write a story about one. For example, Rhinos (or My Teacher, or Porcupines) Would Make Terrible Pets.

  •  

    Describe the mischief the elephant might get into as Lucy’s pet. In your opinion, what animal would make the best pet? Design a poster that advertises your animal as the best possible pet.

  •  

    Why do you think Lucy wants a pet? As a class, decide on the best pet for Lucy. Write a letter to her explaining why you think that’s the best pet for her.

  •  As a class, research the possibility of symbolically adopting an endangered animal. 
  •  

    Discuss pets. Do you or does someone you know have a pet? What are the associated responsibilities? Brainstorm a list of pets, both traditional and unusual. What do you think about having an exotic pet from another country?

  •  

    What do you notice about the title and picture on the front cover? What do you imagine will happen in the story? Read as far as the part where Lucy had almost given up hope of finding Squeaker. Predict what she will do. Read and discuss the ending of the story.

  •  Role play the narrator and the three characters in the story. 
  •  

    Retell the story from the little boy’s point of view. Use vocabulary from the text. 

  •  

    Make a poster of a pet you would like to have. Explain why you want it and how you would care for it.

  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Physical Education and Health