Prather’s Pick: Little book; powerful message
February 26, 2019
It doesn't matter that this week's picture book for children is small — it's powerful. The 8-by-8-inch book is about 24 pages, and the reader gets a page of stickers, too. "Pete the Cat Checks Out the Library" is intended for readers age 4 to 8. It's powerful, because the book's message is: "Reading is cool!"
James Dean has written and illustrated a series of "Pete the Cat" books, including titles such as "Pete the Cat: Construction Destruction," "Pete the Cat: Firefighter Pete," and "Pete the Cat: Robo Pete." Pete is a young black cat with big brown-orange eyes.
As this story begins, Pete's mom has taken him to the library for the first time. The librarian, a tabby cat wearing spectacles, is sitting at the information desk. She gives Pete his very first library card, then takes him on a tour. A little yellow bird with great big eyes comes along .
First, there's the desk where people check out and return books. Next, there's the librarian's favorite room. There are tables and chairs, just Pete's size, where other "kids" — some cats, some big birds, and others — are reading. It's peaceful.
Pete wonders what he's to do next. The librarian says to find a book, any book he chooses, and read. Boy, there are a lot of books of every size, shape, and color. Which to pick?
Pete chooses "Soar," a book about airplanes and jets, and as he reads, he imagines he's a stunt pilot. There he is in a super-fast jet, flying upside down as he does a loop-the-loop in the sky. (His plane has "cat" printed on its side.)
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Then, Pete chooses a book about dragons, wizards, and unicorns. As he reads, he imagines he's a powerful wizard. He stands there on a unicorn's back with a special wand, defending his castle from a fire-breathing dragon (actually a pretty friendly-looking dragon). The white unicorn has a rainbow-colored tail and mane.
Pete enjoys choosing other books while he's at the library, too, with subjects that include bugs, the pyramids, the creatures of the ocean, and more — there's even a book of fairy tales, which Pete finds scary.
The illustrations in this little book are super bright, done in lots of warm colors. To add to the fun, there's a page of more than 30 stickers, too.
The message of the book is "Reading is groovy!" When reading, kids can imagine themselves as whomever they wish. Share this book with your children. Then, get them library cards!
"Pete the Cat Checks Out the Library" is published by HarperFestival, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers (2018). The book costs only $4.99. Check the children's room at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries, or find it where books are sold. I purchased my copy at City Market.