Thursday, March 03, 2011

Picture Book Thursday: Peter Brown Storytime

The more I look at Peter Brown's books the more I love them! The two I review below both have a nice take on children and their involvement with nature and the environment.

In Children Make Terrible Pets, Lucille "Lucy" Beatrice Bear is dancing in the woods when she comes across an animal (really, she finds a little boy). She brings him home begging her mother to keep him. Lucy is allowed to keep him as long as she accepts sole responsibility for him. She names him Squeaker for the sounds he makes. She plays with him, eats with him, naps with him, pretty much does everything with the little boy. BUT, he is not easy to care for. He simply will not be potty trained, he messes up the furniture and does not listen very well. She is pretty fed up with him until one day he is missing! She looks all over and finally discovers the little boy had made his way back home to his family. She decides that is where he belongs and she says good-bye. Upon returning home, Lucy tells her mother that children really do make terrible pets. :-)

Such a cute story! And a great way to introduce kids to the idea that the animals we find in nature should remain there so they can be with their families where they belong. I've also discovered that Peter Brown's author notes are fun! This one says:
When I was a child, I once found a frog in the woods and brought it home to be my pet. My mom was not happy. "Would you like it if a wild animal made YOU its pet?" she asked. To which I replied, "Absolutely!"
The Curious Garden is the story of a little boy living in a dreary, gray city without any green space. While exploring the city, the little boy discovers a tiny patch of wildflowers on an unused elevated railway. He decides he is going to be a gardener and waters and cares for the little patch only to discover the garden wants to spread out. It was curious, and wanted to spread to other parts of the city. Before he knows it, there are wildflowers and trees popping up all over the city and more gardeners appear to care for the new green space. The city is transformed into a completely different place thanks to the curious nature of the spreading plants.

And again, I found the author's note at the end interesting. It begins:
It often seems impossible for nature to thrive in a city of concrete and brick and steel. But the more I've traveled, and the closer I've looked at the world around me, the more I've realized that nature is always eagerly exploring places we've forgotten. You can find flowers and fields and even small forests growing wild in every city; you just have to look for them.
It ends with:
All of this made me curious: what would happen if an entire city decided to truly cooperate with nature? How would that city change? How would it all begin?
Read The Curious Garden with your kids to find out how he answers those questions. I thoroughly enjoyed these two books and look forward to future books from Peter Brown!

Source disclosure: I received an unsolicited copy of Children Make Terrible Pets from Little, Brown & Company. The Curious Garden was an e-book download from my library.


allisonmariecat said...

Oh, I love Curious Garden! I read that to Lilah's class last time I subbed. It's a favorite :)

Book Sp(l)ot said...

It's nice to see a review of Curious Garden, I too received a copy of Children Make Terrible Pets, loved it and was interested in his other books :)

Tales of a Librarian Mom said...

We loved The Curious Garden! Can't wait to read Children Make Terrible Pets.