Maybe Tolstoy started this way.
Not to defend Keane Inc. but I think this is just supposed to be the old "kids like simple things better than pre-packaged material goodies" message. PJ is supposed to be good and cute and so much better than the reader's grandchildren because he'd rather play with something he found around the house than expensive stuff someone bought for him.
While this is true, I think the seedy underbelly of this trope is that children are sort of ungrateful and parents kind of hate them for it. Also, it's just kind of dumb to bang on a pan when you could be banging on a drum.
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