“Children Make Terrible Pets” by Peter Brown


One of my son’s friends expressed interest in our little baby boy. “I think he would like a sibling.” I mentioned to the mom jokingly.  “Yeah, I know. We tell him that he has a dog instead,” the boy’s mom answered.

And isn’t that true! Although you can’t put an equality mark between children and puppies, pets can provide a great companionship to a child, the way siblings would. What’s more, many parents swear by the therapeutic benefits pets have on a child. I have recently heard of a boy diagnosed with ADHD. His focus and discipline have improved dramatically after a fluffy friend joined the family. It makes sense, doesn’t it? A pet, whether it is a dog, cat or  a bird can be a great friend.  It can be that missing link between a child and the rest of the world. The love a pet can offer to a child can make a child feel better about themselves. We all need to feel loved,  and animals are very good at showing their affection. What’s more, taking care of a pet can enhance child’s self-esteem. The very chore of changing cat’s litter  shows the child they are capable of looking after someone else. It’s very motivational. It teaches responsibility, commitment, even respect for others.  A dog won’t let a child pull their tail for fun. A child will learn to respect that.

Since we don’t have pets, my older son learns his lessons of respect on his baby brother. He already knows he can’t poke the baby’s cheeks, however poke-able they look. The baby has entered the phase of copying is older sibling and  it is a poke-for-poke game now. Little wonder. As Peter Brown proves in his book, children make terrible pets.

Lucy the bear found a little boy in the woods. She decided to keep him, even though her mother warned her that children are horrible pets. Lucy named the boy Squeak because of the funny noise it made. But mom was right. The boy was impossible to communicate with and  potty train. He ruined the furniture and as if that was not enough, he even disappeared. Lucy went searching for Squeak, but when she found him with a human family, she made a smart choice to… leave him there. 

A fresh take on a pet topic. The simple role reversal makes this story highly entertaining and memorable. This engaging  tale and mixed-media pictures make a fine reading treat and a hilarious guide on what to expect once you decide on a pet. The little creature might turn the house upside down, but from what I hear,  it’s impossible not to love them.

Below, two more books on how a pet can make us all happier. Universal truth. Valid across the species.

“Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet” by Kelly DiPucchio

“The Pigeon Wants a Puppy” by Mo Willems

And if you are like me and think that your family doesn’t need a pet at the moment, you will appreciate the good laughs. It’s hard to have enough of those.

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