Sunday, May 15, 2011

Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown

Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown (2010)

What it's about:
Lucy Bear is out in the woods, she finds a little boy and convinces her mother to let her keep him as a pet.
What I love:
Kids love the humorous twist that a bear wants a kid as a pet. That twist plays out in the story perfectly. Being of a certain age, it reminds me of Daffy Duck and the Abominable Snowman: "I will name him George, and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him." The younger readers don't understand that reference, but it adds a little something for me. 
Peter Brown so clearly convey emotions on the bears faces, providing opportunities to ask younger kids how they think the character feels at that point in the story using "picture clues". 
Students may or may not personalize the idea that not everything you "find" is something for you to own and control, or see that there is some sort of double standard for dogs (Squeaker, the little boy, has a dog for a pet), but they love the fact that after Lucy Bear decides to let the little boy stay with his family, she sees and elephant and clearly hasn't learned a thing. This last picture is perfect for a "what do you think happens next?" discussion. 
My Favorite part:
I love that Mama bear calls Lucy bear by her full name when she first brings Squeaker home. That was always a sign of something serious when I was growing up. I also like the clear voice (for all you fans of 6+1 traits) that comes through with Mama bear and Lucy at that point. 
Other Connections:
This is a good read to connect to learning about genres. There are many ways a story can be fantasy ("an impossible made up story"). Stories where animals act like humans are a common sub-genre in children's picture books, and an easy one for students to learn to recognize and remember as fantasy.
Read Aloud Today!

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