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Irresistible reads for every age

Stories that will pry even the most reluctant readers away from their gadgets.

By Connie Matthiessen

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Children Make Terrible Pets

By Peter Brown
Little Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group), September 2010, $16.99
Ages 4-8

Lucy, a bear, really wants to keep the little boy she finds in the woods, but her mother has reservations. "Children make terrible pets," she warns. But Lucy persists and is permitted to keep her pet boy, whom she names Squeakers. The result? A whirlwind of adventures — fun and not so fun — for Lucy and Squeakers. Clever and heartwarming, Children Make Terrible Pets will delight youngsters.

Bottom line: A clever twist on a familiar experience.

Connie Matthiessen is an associate editor at GreatSchools.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

12/21/2010:
"'pplitically correct' is not the point- an no, everything does not have to mirror everyone exactly. But yes, it is vitsl that children see positive images of themselves, and of all kinds of people, in the literature they read, and all the mass media they consume. That is where they build their picture of the world. And in fact, that is part of the definition of, 'quality literature.'"
12/14/2010:
"What about books for 3-4 yrs. olds?? "
12/7/2010:
"Good grief- I am reacting to the previous two posts. Must everything be politically correct?? Can't we just have quality books that have good story lines? Ever noticed how abysmal our education system is? Are we focused on the kids or making sure everything is perfect politically? Enough already."
12/6/2010:
"I have not read 'Devil Dog' but I am reacting to the retro sexism of the cover: Shouldn't we be encouraging our boys and girls to look critically at the way we 'used to' think of the roles of the sexes instead of tacitly endorsing out of date stereotypes? Whether the fault of the publisher or inherent in the actual story line, I am saddened to think that such blatant sexism is permissible, acceptable even, if couched in retro terms. If we were to see, for example, a racist or antisemitic stereotype from the same era, we would think it unacceptable. Let's not loose sight of how demeaning sexist stereotypes are too -- for everyone."
12/6/2010:
"I clicked to this article with great anticipation. I am very disappointed that you could not find books that mirrored the diversity of our children. No books with images of children of color. There are many published author who write about children of color include children from many backgrounds. I hope you can do better in 2011. #GreatSchoolsNet #FAIL as we would tweet on twitter."
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