Prather’s Pick: Three ‘Pete the Cat’ books
July 14, 2015
This week's column salutes a cat — not just any ordinary cat, either. Pete is a blackish-blue cat with light brown eyes that take up most of his face. He sometimes wears clothes on his slender body. In short, he's one cool cat.
Cat is the creation of Kimberly and James Dean. According to their biography, both worked in the corporate world, James was an electrical engineer and Kimberly worked in the press office of the governor, of Georgia. But in the late '90s they left their jobs. In 2004 they sat down at their kitchen table to write a children's book. "Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses" was the result.
Since then, the couple has written more Pete the Cat books, and this column reviews three of them. The first one is a hardcover book that is intended for ages 4 to 8, but I think adults will enjoy it, too. "Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Life; Tips from a Cool Cat for Living an Awesome Life" is filled with inspirational quotes from all sorts of famous people, including Confucius, Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, and Plato — about 24 of them in all. Beside each famous quote is Pete's take on it.
One of my favorites is "To begin, begin." by William Wordsworth. Pete sits on a chair typing "Once upon a time. …" on his typewriter. He's thinking, "Life takes courage; be brave!"
This feel-good book, with its thought-provoking quotes, is suitable for a discussion with kids. It costs about $12.99. The book has a 2015 copyright, and as with all of the Pete the Cat books in this column, it is published by HarperCollinsPublishers.
The second book is an "I Can Read" book, a shared reading book. Pete is right on the cover, dressed in a shirt and tie, jeans, and four colorfully-designed socks — none of which match. As the story opens, Pete is trying to decide what to wear to school. He wants to look cool so he tries to follow the advice from others, which include his mom, a monkey named Mary, his brother, Bob, his teacher, a friend Callie, and others.
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Pete puts on all of the clothes, but does he look cool? He looks silly, and he's hot, too, since he's wearing so many clothes. In the end, there's a message for kids about how to look cool.
"Pete the Cat Too Cool for School" is a paperback book (2014) that costs $3.99.
The third book is a board book that's tough enough for infants to handle and even chew on. "Pete the Cat: The Wheels on the Bus" (2013) will be enjoyed by newborns through age 4 because of the rhyming text.
Pete is the driver of the big, yellow bus. (He even has a driver's license; it's on the back page of the book.) As he drives along, "The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round." The horn goes "beep, beep. …" and there are lots of other sounds with each turn of the page. The passengers are kittens and a dog named Emma (she appears in other Pete the Cat books, too).
The board book costs $6.99.
Check out these Pete the Cat books and others that the Deans have written. Kids love them — adults, too.