Children make terrible pets (and I make terrible puns)

While visiting my in-laws last weekend, I accompanied my sister-in-law on an errand to the teacher supply store. (It was my very own Journey to the Center of Educational Worth.) Have you ever been in one of these places? For my readers who teach, I’m sure it’s old hat. For me, it was like peeking behind the curtain in the Emerald City and seeing the real Wizard of Oz.

I’d never really stopped to consider where all of those bulletin board displays, charts, and classroom signs came from. (Magic? Elves?) Now I know – they come from a store that has every school supply you can imagine, as well as hundreds that you cannot.

Shopping in this store is not for the faint of heart. The music playing will make you yearn for regular elevator muzak. I have to wonder why the proprietors think that teachers would rather listen to kid songs instead of some Top 40, some smooth jazz, or any other music that will not haunt their nightmares later.

(In case you’re wondering what tracks I boogied to during my visit, check out tracks 3, 4, 9, and 10 on the Hip-Hop AlphaBop CD and prepare for an infestation of earworms. These Are the Vowels, indeed. I bet if you play it backwards, the CD is mocking you. “And sometimes y… why? Why y? Why?” Mad respect for the people who work there and listen to that music all day long.)

Each shopper seems to have one eye on the three giant laminating machines, waiting for her turn to laminate teaching aids galore. (My sister-in-law made this pilgrimage solely for the purpose of using the self-service lamination station. Also, I’m not being sexist here. During my visit, all of the patrons were female.)  Those laminating machines are no joke. I totally want one now. (Conveniently located next to the sometimes-long line for the lamination station? A display of smaller laminating machines for purchase.)

Anyway… while my sister-in-law waited for her turn to laminate, I explored the store. It really did have everything. My two favorite finds? A book called Children Make Terrible Pets and this board game:

What's Gnu: I Still Want More Puppies

Nothing. Just lion around and gibbon myself a few days off. What’s Gnu with ewe? I hope you’ve been whale.

Puns aside, let’s get back to the book. Children Make Terrible Pets is written by my new friend, Peter Brown. (Note: Peter Brown and I are not actually friends. Unless one of my friends is writing under that pseudonym, which I very much doubt.)

The book tells the story of a young bear who adopts her first pet, a human boy that she finds in the woods. I skimmed through the book in the store, and was instantly charmed. I suppose the lesson is that wild animals are not really meant to be pets, even if they follow you home. I can’t decide whether to give it as a gift to a child… or as a tongue-in-cheek gift to some of my favorite adults without children. (You can’t go wrong with that title, after all.)

Have you ever seen this book? Would you recommend any other books to teach children about having pets? Comments on these and other topics will receive bonus points (and an imaginary gold star) if they contain an animal pun. (Speaking of puns, here are some pun-tastic gifts for the teacher in your life…)

Similar Smells:




20 thoughts on “Children make terrible pets (and I make terrible puns)

  1. My nephew’s favorite book as a kid was Diary of a Wombat. Which is not about teaching kids to have pets per se–it’s the Wombat imagining a human family as *his* pets.

    My favorite kids’ dog book is Harry the Dirty Dog, but it’s really a terrible book about owning pets. Harry has free run of the city, apparently, and nobody seems to care that much.
    Jessica recently posted..Dog TV

  2. I haven’t read it, but I love children’s stories. (especially those revolving around dogs, of course!) My daughter just turned 20, so I don’t really have an excuse to buy them any more…but some day, years from now, I will hopefully be a grandma – then I will be back to buying children’s books! lol

  3. Haven’t heard of that book (or the game), but will check it out! And yes, I’ve been in one of those Teacher Supply Stores, but it’s been years! I didn’t remember the whole thing about the music being played there…must’ve blocked it out of my memory! 😉
    Elyse and Riley recently posted..How It Went

  4. Your comment about the teacher supply store almost made me snort. You’re right. It is not for the faint of heart. It is sensory overload. There is absolutely no blank space. If my classroom looked like that, I would be so distracted by everything I would never be able to teach! But you do have an overwhelming need to own everything in it. What’s that? A finger pointer?! How did I teach without this? I digress.

    There’s actually a book I found on Amazon called May I Pet Your Dog? that teaches kids about appropriate behavior when approaching animals. I haven’t read it, but it looks like a great addition!
    Maeve recently posted..PA Getaway

  5. I’ve never been to one of these stores – but my sis used to teach kindergarten, and now 3rd grade, so I know via her about the importance of laminating! That’s no bull that teachers love their laminating!

    Toucan learn about having a pet from one of my kids’ books I still have – “How Fletcher Was Hatched.” It’s about a dog that feels sad cuz his owner is all nuts over a little new chickie. So he concocts a plan to hatch out of an egg so she’ll love him again. So cute!
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted..Monday Mischief: More Puzzling Mischief

  6. I like your puns! And anyway, it’s most important that you amuse yourself. Take my word, my puns generally only amuse me. I love the book suggestions. If I might share… I just wrote a children’s book about animal rescue called JJ The American Street Dog and How He Came to Live in Our House. It teaches kids about responsible dog ownership in general, what to do when someone finds a stray dog, and how important and life-saving animal rescue is. If any of your followers purchase a copy through my website, they can email me and I’d be happy to sign it to them. Thanks for your blog. I will follow!

  7. Two of the best and most effective children’s activity books focused specifically on kids caring for dogs and cats are:
    – So, You Have A New Puppy! (
    – So, You Have A New Kitten! (
    These are almost as fun as your new pet and despite these title, they apply to pets of all ages. They are text-leveled, standards-specific, and interactive. Meaning, they are safe for any age group and any situation, have educational value, and are coloring books too! With a vaccination chart in back, and lots of identification activities throughout, they are a great resource for parents. Did I mention they are available in SPA and ENG and in print or electronic form?

    But, as the author, I’m biased… 🙂 Hope you’ll check them out though!
    Stacy recently posted..Training Treats that Don’t Pack On the Pounds

  8. I find teacher stores to be much like toy stores. Except at teacher stores there are mostly adults and at toy stores there are mostly kids. That book is one of my favorite books! And Peter Brown is one of my favorite authors! We have quite a few tails in our library about teaching children about pets. May I Pet Your Dog and How to Talk to Your Dog and Some Swell Pup and Raising Dragons and How do Dinosaurs Love Their Dogs. Some good reading for you!!
    Rhythm recently posted..The Big Boom!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.