Peter Brown’s sense of humor in his latest picture book is completely in sync with his audience. Children love to role-play, and the idea of a boy acting the part of a misbehaving kitten or puppy—the way “Squeaker” does in Children Make Terrible Pets—will have them laughing until their sides hurt.
Squeaker is housebroken, but other than that, he has everything in common with a new pet run amok—messing up furniture, being a poor tea party guest—and he even runs away. The advantage Squeaker has—at least in Brown’s images—is that he knows how to play to the camera: us. Even if your child has never had a pet, he or she will recognize these situations. The boy can conjure all sorts of associations. (Squeaker can also be a stand-in for the annoying younger sibling.) The fact that a bow- and tutu-wearing bear wants to “tame” or “train” the boy only adds to the comedy.
Peter Brown (no relation) is quickly developing a repertoire of outlandish situations with familiar underpinnings—or perhaps he can simply predict the future. His The Curious Garden pictured a seemingly impossible green space high above a bustling city. But just a few weeks ago, when my aunt, uncle,
So the next time you see a bow- and tutu-clad cub, check to see if she has a Squeaker in tow…