Customer Reviews: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
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on July 26, 2010
I was extremely disappointed to read the School Library Journal's review of Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. As the owner of a children's bookstore in Decatur, Georgia, I have had a very different experience.

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes has been on the New York Times' Bestseller List for several weeks and has been the best selling book in our store's history. The reason the book has done so well -- incredibly well for an unknown author and illustrator -- is because Pete is a superb book.

Author Eric Litwin has a considerable history of working with children as a teacher, storyteller, and musician. As a result of years of work, Eric has developed an excellent rapport with kids and a deep understanding of how to connect with them using a variety of approaches.

A former electrical engineer, James Dean found his true calling in his second career as a painter. Pete the Cat is a character James created over ten years ago and who has come to be recognized and beloved all over the Atlanta area.

Eric had an idea for a story involving Pete, and subsequently met James by random chance on an Atlanta street. The collaboration began. Drafts were written and sketches were revised. Advice was sought and heeded. When James and Eric were satisfied with their work, the two published the book themselves, selling it on their own and through a handful of bookstores. (Little Shop of Stories was one such store.)

(This is not how a children's picture book typically comes together. In the vast majority of circumstances, an author will submit a manuscript to a publisher. Upon acceptance, an editor will be assigned the key task of selecting an illustrator whose work will not only complement the text but bring an added dimension. There are excellent exceptions where an author and illustrator will submit their work as a team. Jacky Davis and David Soman write and illustrate the Ladybug Girl books. (They're married to each other.) Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith (their wives were co-workers) did The True Story of the Three Little Pigs together and went on to do The Stinky Cheese Man and other books.)

The book sold fantastically well and was subsequently published by Harper Collins. For good reason.

For a children's picture book to be truly successful, it must work for both the child as well as the adult who is asked to read it 100 times. Or more.

From the grownup perspective, Pete is fun to read. The text has a rhythm to it. One can sing the refrain. After only a few reads one can successfully encourage the child to participate. ("Goodness no!") At the same time the parent knows that the younger child is learning colors and the older child, because of the repetition and the visual clues, can begin to learn to read. The illustrations are bright and lively, creative and surreal, and work perfectly with the text.

There is also a moral to Pete's story.

For the child, the book is just fun.

Dave Shallenberger
Little Shop of Stories
Decatur, Georgia
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VINE VOICEon December 1, 2010
Well, just go ahead and add PK-4 to the list of people who LOVE Pete the Cat, both the book and the cat! No, make that LOVE LOVE LOVE Pete the Cat!

Never have I had a near-riot in the library on Library Day after those little ones first heard and saw the story of Pete the Cat.

Pete the Cat sings: I Love My White Shoes. I love my White Shoes. I love my White Shoes. How shall I describe our Pete? Fun, fun, fun! Frankly, I want to be just like Pete: unflappable, flexible, and adaptable. Make lemonade out of lemons. Go with the flow. One reviewer indicated the lesson is terrible: Accept your fate. Oh, I disagree. Pete saw no fate--just circumstances to turn into the next pleasant venture on his road of life. Pete? At the beginning he has new white shoes which he loves. In each adventure he steps into colorful piles--strawberries, blueberries, mud-- each time turning his shoes into a new color. Does he whine? Does he complain? "Goodness no!" He just sings a new song about blue shoes, red shoes, brown shoes. Oh, yes, there IS magic in this story, Virginia!!

In my school library, PK-4 (4-year-olds) practically demanded Pete the Cat for three weeks in a row. Never mind my new choice to read for the week--they wanted Pete!! So Pete it was--for three straight weeks.

(Secretly, I found it endearing that those children came into the library, singing, "I love my White Shoes. I love my white shoes---" and insisting, "We want Pete the Cat!" So I read it to them three weeks in a row.)

What is it about the song and book that plays such a chord on the hearts of children? The whimsy, I think. Also, tucked into a little envelope on the back of the front cover is an invitation to come visit their spot on YouTube and experience the song from the actual writer (Eric Litwin) and illustrator (James Dean, no, not that James Dean). Or, you can go to Harper Collins, the publisher.

Frankly, things don't get much better than a happy song about each and every bad luck event, each of which can be turned into something positive. What's not to like? This is a book every child will love--and the adult in his/her life!!
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on March 26, 2010
I first saw this book when it was self-published here in Georgia and was amazed at the reception it received everywhere it went. The reaction of children from as young as 2 years old to seven was incredible. It instanly became their favorite book and was a nightly read. The accompaning music/story that can be downloaded(free) with this publication by Harper Collins actually means that it isn't long before the children know the story by heart and love to help read it sometimes with much gusto. A YouTube video of just such an occurence gives a clear idea of what goes on with children when two adorable little girls read Pete the Cat themselves at bedtime.
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on July 9, 2012
We love this book; it is a great find that my 6,5, and 2-year-olds enjoy! I don't understand how the Library reviewer could say, "The moral of the story keep going no matter what happens to you in life may sound like good advice, but it doesn't instill any sense of power in children it just tells them to accept their fate." I think how you look at what life throws at you, while staying true to who you are, is a powerful message. Maintaining a positive attitude can get an individual through many hardships in life and I think this simple story conveys how a positive attitude can elevate a person to handle whatever life throws your way.

Keep walking proud, Pete!
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on November 23, 2013
I had no idea of the fans of Pete the Cat until we read this. We looked up the publishers web site and saw or listened to the other books in the series. We've probably read it 50 times and because of its repetive text, my grandson loves to read it to anyone who will listen. It's a great series and will be ordering others.
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on February 14, 2014
i bought 2 pete the books since they were highly rated, the one about groovy buttons and the one about his white shoes. i feel like i bought the same book twice. books are too similar, morals the same, songs the same, and thats why i suggest to buy one or the other. i wont continue to buy pete the cat books because of this. my first time to read pete the cat so i dont know what the other books are like. my son loved them but i think he just likes story time in general.
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on April 28, 2016
I bought this for my niece's 4th birthday, along with the Super Cool Reading Collection. While the hard cover versions of these books are a little more expensive, it's nice to have the option. Either way, these books are very affordable, charming, and even amusing for adults who are reading them to children or using them to help their children read on their own. They are fun and a great start for children who want to read. I would highly recommend the Pete the Cat books!
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on February 19, 2014
I am buying books for my son since he was born. He loves listening to me reading his books every night, specially the books by Dr, Seuss...
But reaction to this book is entirely different....he got this book on sunday morning with two other books and got instantly drawn to this one, may be due do the bright and attractive picture of Pete. And since then there is no pause in reading this book. In past 3 days we had to read it to him at least 15 times (thankfully the story is equally enjoyed by me and my husband...and it's quite an event with all the singing and asking questions and answering them). He wants it before going to bad and as soon as he wakes up starts looking for his 'Pete book'. . He has learnt the story by heart and would pretend to read to him self turning the pages and would ask us questions about the color of Pete's shoes...he would shout 'rock and roll' or 'groovy' when he see those word, this is surprising because he can not really read as of now... i'm sure now he'll be able to recognize the words red, blue, brown or white no matter where he sees them...this much of involvement with a book has never happened before.

I guess the illustrations and length of the story is just right for the beginners. Consisting of simple words it definitely helps young kids to recognize and read those words...surely this book is going to get a very special place in his early age memories.
Couldn't be happier with the purchase...every penny well spent.

Would recommend to every parent with kids as young as few months old...if not the words the colors would definitely catch their attention eventually making it one of their favorite books.
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on October 13, 2013
Pete the Cat's great attitude toward the anxiety-provoking issues of a child's life is something we can all learn from. I bought this book, and the second of the series, not so much to read to small children, as for my own sake, because I love Pete's courage, and his positive attitude. ...I haven't bought any of the other Pete books, though. I kind of get the impression Pete's being overused.
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on September 23, 2012
This has to be one of the best children's books out lately. Pete the Cat is so delightful in his adventures while wearing white shoes. My two-year-old granddaughters think he is the funniest critter on earth as he stumbles through the different colors and soils his shoes. They love the repetitive verses and hilarious expressions on his face, too. I just think they can easily relate to him. Great book and even I(the Grandmother) am excited about it. Also, you can get on the internet and hear the book done in song. The kids wiggle and jiggle all over the place during it because they think it is a riot!!!
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