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Pete & Pickles Hardcover – October 16, 2008


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 5 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
  • Lexile Measure: 620L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel (October 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399250824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399250828
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.4 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–4—Pete is a predictable and practical pig. One stormy night, his world is turned upside down when he encounters Pickles, an elephant on the lam from the circus, in his room. Pickles is anything but predictable, yet Pete finds himself drawn to her, and the two become unlikely friends. The relationship hits a snag when Pickles treads too far, and Pete makes a decision that ends up endangering both of their lives. This heartwarming tale is packed with adventure, imagination, and the all-important message of accepting differences. The illustrations alternate from naturalistic renderings of fantastical scenarios to flat compositions reminiscent of traditional comic strips. In the former, Pete and Pickles seem to pop off the page in the lush landscapes, and it is in these pages that the story soars. Less-discerning readers may miss plot points expressed in the drawings but not in the text. Great for sharing one-on-one or for reading aloud.—Beth Cuddy, Seward Elementary School, Auburn, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Breathed achieves a dreamy intensity, a sculptural heft that make these images his most evocative and expansive to date. --Publishers Weekly, starred review

Both adventures and illustrations flirt with the surreal...a comically silly, warmly affirmative package. --Kirkus Reviews

This heartwarming tale is packed with adventure, imagination, and the all-important message of accepting differences. --School Library Journal

More About the Author

Berkeley Breathed lives and works in Santa Barbara, California and is the proud owner of a gentle pit bull named Ridley, a deaf dachshund named Milly, and a refugee mutt from the Puerto Rican streets named Pilar--splendidly flawed dogs, every one.

Customer Reviews

The story is very cute, but has a really nice and subtle moral.
Courtney Brock
As a fan of Breathed's work since the beginning of the Bloom County comic strip, I found humor, comfort, joy, and hope in his writing and illustration.
S. Files
A story of love and loss and the healing ability of imagination and friendship.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By S. Files on October 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a fan of Breathed's work since the beginning of the Bloom County comic strip, I found humor, comfort, joy, and hope in his writing and illustration. Breathed's humor is founded in the best of our natures, not the worst of it, and you find ample evidence for it in the many cartoon universes he created to reflect it. "Pete and Pickles" is another such world. I am not sure how Berkeley Breathed manages such complex ideas with such grace and simplicity, but I am glad he does. Buy this book for you, and then share it with your favorite child. You will not regret buying this well-written, expertly crafted and illustrated, book. I read a copy yesterday, and it is in my shopping cart now. I pause only to write this review. Buy this book.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By K. Strommen on October 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I buy Breathed's children's books for myself and *consent* to share them with my 6yr. old niece. They are by far my very favorite children's books, and you can imagine my delight when i saw Pete & Pickles was released. It is exquisitely written and illustrated. It is whimsical and heartwrenching (all while it makes you laugh out loud). Everyone i show it to (and then quickly snatch back from their covetous grasp) loves this book and you will to.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Susan Smith on December 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book without knowing one of the quiet little side-plots was the recent death of a spouse (not a spoiler - it's clear by page 3). Since my husband recently died, I thought others should know who might be in the same emotional place. It's a beautiful book, and can bring a sorrowing widow/widower some hope, but it sure can take you by surprise if you're not prepared <<sniff, sniff, gimme another kleenex>>! This is one you definitely want to pre-read before the little one climbs into your lap for story time!!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By DWD's Reviews VINE VOICE on April 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Pete & Pickles" is the story of a lonely, widower pig and an exuberant, outgoing elephant that escaped from a circus. According to the back flap, it was inspired from a drawing that Breathed's five-year old made in a restaurant. She drew an elephant hugging a pig in its trunk.

Breathed asked why the elephant is holding the pig.
"The pig's sad."
"Why?"
"Because he's lonely, Dad...But he doesn't know it," she whispered.

Pete is indeed lonely. He misses his wife who has died. Pickles comes into his life unexpectedly and turns it all over and, in a way, saves it. Or, at least makes it worth living.

I cannot imagine the adult that does not tear up at the end of this book (I've got no qualms with it - this 40 year old Republican darn near cried!).

On top of a great story you've got great pictures. The art is top-notch. Careful observation will show you that Breathed previews most of the book with the art on the walls of Pete's house. It's something fun to go back and look at with the kids.

As for those that claim that this is inappropriate for kids, I say, "Phhphhtt!" (to quote Opus, Breathed's beloved Penguin character.) I talked to my children all the way through the book as we read it. I talked about how Pete misses his wife like their Grandpa misses their Grandma who has passed on. Is it sad? Sure it is, but life's full of sadness. This book deals with it and shows you can move on. I talked about how Pete gets angry when Pickles messes with his wife's things, I talked about how they were still friends and how he is much happier at the end than he was at the beginning. Guess what? I talk with my kids when we watch TV, too. That's part of the job of being a parent.

I found this one at the library and it is suddenly one of my favorite books. Now I have to add it to my wish list because I don't want to give it back!

Highly recommended for all ages.
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36 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Nicki Heskin VINE VOICE on November 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Let me start by saying that I am not a Berkeley Breathed devotee... I've nothing against him mind you, and I like the comic well enough, but my comments on this book are limited to reviewing the book itself without regard to Breathed's full body of work and accomplishments.

Overall, I found Pete and Pickles to be a really interesting and thoughtful read, but I would never buy it for my kids, or read it to them. There are several reasons for this, but I'll say right off that the primary one is that the book starts off with the pig going to bed early because of a storm so that he could get on with the same nightmare he has every time it storms -- of drowning. If I read this to my 6-year old girl, she's be in my bed *every time it rained!!!* I couldn't get past that right there.

Now I know that may seem shortsighted to those who appreciate the complexity and intelligence of Breathed's work, but the main thing that I look for in a children's book is that it will good for my children. Even if I read this to her once, and miraculously avoided the attendant nightmares, I'm quite confident she'd never let me open it again, branding it as "too scary."

There is some value for children in the book, though...perhaps an older one than mine. The overall notion of stepping outside your solitary comfort zone and getting involved and allowing someone to affect and enrich your "comfortable" life is incredibly admirable. However, I feel like for young children, this message will be lost in the overall dark and creepy feel of the story. No, I don't think that everything for children needs to be cutesy and adorable, emitting sunshine and flowers. But I think this book is along the lines of animated movies that are way over children's heads.
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