In Ryan’s debut children’s book, a young boy imagines his parents have a pet that makes messes and causes trouble around the house.
A young boy is perplexed. His parents often comment on the vexing, mysterious behavior of “my pet peeve,” and he’s confused because he can’t see this pet: “ ‘Where did these crumbs on the couch come from?’ my mom asks. ‘That is my pet peeve!’ ” and “ ‘Why is there water all over the bathroom floor?’ my dad asks. ‘That is my pet peeve!’ ” With each new situation, the boy learns another clue about the pet’s identity. For instance, “[s]ometimes Peeve uses my stuff without my permission. ‘Who left a skateboard at the bottom of the staircase?’ my dad asks.” The parents are irked by behavior that ranges from leaving a dirty cereal bowl on the table to tracking mud around the living room to getting chocolaty fingerprints on the piano keys. These are the kinds of careless but commonplace things that kids do every day, so the story may help teach youngsters about the importance of taking care of things and of being aware of how one’s actions can affect others. The boy imagines that Peeve is small and fast, possibly with a horn and spiky tail or maybe a pair of wings; it’s amusing to see the child trying to figure out what’s going on. The book also makes clear to young readers exactly who Peeve is, with most of its space devoted to Durkin’s colorful illustrations that clearly show the situations that irritate the parents. The images also make it easier to understand the text, and with so much repetition, it’s a good book for young readers to practice new words. It may also inspire kids to talk with their parents or teachers about their own pet peeves.
A humorous, engaging tale of a child confused by his parents’ complaints.