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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enter the World of Berkeley Breathed
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...
Published on October 24, 2008 by S. Files

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36 of 50 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book...but not for children
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...
Published on November 7, 2008 by Nicki Heskin


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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enter the World of Berkeley Breathed, October 24, 2008
By 
S. Files (Minot, ND USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pete & Pickles (Hardcover)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Berkeley Breathed delights yet again, October 30, 2008
This review is from: Pete & Pickles (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad, yet joyful, December 29, 2008
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This review is from: Pete & Pickles (Hardcover)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic - and yes, I did read it to my children, April 20, 2009
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This review is from: Pete & Pickles (Hardcover)
"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 50 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book...but not for children, November 7, 2008
This review is from: Pete & Pickles (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.

The best and most moving part of the book in my option is actually the inside back of the dust jacket, where Breathed talks about how his daughter actually did the initial concept drawing for this book on a placemat at a restaurant. She drew an elephant holding a pig in his trunk and putting flowers on the pig's head. When he asked her what she drew, she replied the pig was sad, because he was longely, but "he doesn't know it." It really is a lovely sentiment, and so needed for kids. But overall, I think the delivery is just too complex and mature for most children.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really fun book that kids will love!!!, December 3, 2008
This review is from: Pete & Pickles (Hardcover)
I chose this book for my granddaughter because it has a message about friendship but also has lots of fun! Every time I ask her which book she wants me to read it's this one.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, October 29, 2008
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This review is from: Pete & Pickles (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful book. My girls both love it. The illustrations are bright and playful and the story makes you smile. I strongly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!, January 4, 2011
This review is from: Pete & Pickles (Hardcover)
I was unbelievably moved by this book. Cried as I read it to my 5 and 8 year old and spent a good deal of time trying to explain the depth and importance of its story. Mine were NOT troubled by it long term, as some have suggested might happen. I was just so surprised to find something so deep, moving, thoughtful and wonderful in a book for this age group. I have read it over and over, shared it with anyone I could and continue to be almost brought to tears by the illustrations. Get this book. Adults will be moved, kids will build on it's premise as they grow, and soon understand better than many adults do, that it is and will ALWAYS be, about love.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful exploration of emotions, November 10, 2009
This review is from: Pete & Pickles (Hardcover)
This is a favorite bedtime story for both me and my four-year-old son. From the very first reading, we were enthralled by the beautiful illustrations that are packed with details. One of our favorite things to do is track the different emotions on Pete's face from page to page: his skepticism, surprise, happiness, and even loneliness and despair are so perfectly rendered. True, there are some weighty topics in this book, but I look at them as great conversation starters and ways to explain complex thoughts and feelings to my son.

Pete the pig starts out as a lonely widower who is unaware that he is missing something so wonderful as Pickles in his life. He is unsure what makes him reach for the key that frees her from her circus chains. (The picture of Pickles shackled in the circus tent is heartbreaking.) After obtaining her freedom, Pickles turns Pete's world upside-down with nonstop adventures and ideas. Pete goes with the flow and even begins to come out of his shell when Pickles goes a little too far and pushes Pete's buttons. A crisis occurs, and in the end, Pete learns the true value of the friendship he has made, despite the flaws of his friend. The story is so beautifully and creatively told and anything but predictable; I had tears in my eyes after the first time I read it, and it still makes me laugh and cry after many re-readings.

I really enjoy the writing style of Breathed. He understands that kids are able to comprehend much more than we give them credit for. He doesn't talk down to them, but he doesn't baby them either. The vocabulary in this story introduced many new words to my son but was never too much that he couldn't follow along. His favorite thing to say now is "ridiculous". I also think that it is important to note that there is a substory within the book that isn't told in the text but in the artwork. We only know that Pete is a widower through pictures of him tending his wife's tombstone, and her portrait on the walls of his house suggest his loneliness without her. When Pickles is trying on her wardrobe, you have to match the outfit she is wearing to the picture on the wall, and you also have to match the name 'Paprika' on the dressing case to the tombstone. For young children, it is entirely possible to avoid this aspect of the story until each parent feels their own child is ready for that type of discussion.

The emotions dealt with in this story are a part of daily life. I don't feel that the author forces them on the reader or that the book has a "dark tone" that will frighten children. The main focus of the book is the changing power of love and friendship; it doesn't always make sense, and you can't explain it, but children can pick up on its importance. My son was genuinely worried about what would happen to Pickles, but he was never afraid by any of the images in the book. There is so much lightheartedness to balance against the deeper issues that you never dwell on the tough questions for too long. I think that is the genius behind the story.

This book is an amazing read for both children and adults. I love to show off the great pictures to other people whenever I get the chance. My son and I always laugh at the page of Pickles "sharing her tropical refreshment with the natives." We LOVE this book and recommend it to all!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book, February 13, 2009
By 
Scott "Scott" (Lake Villa, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pete & Pickles (Hardcover)
Breathed's books have become required bedtime reading for my two youngest kids: they pick books by Breathed and make me read them at bedtime. It's a fun story about Pete, who's life is messed up by a fun, kind elephant, Pickles.

Pure whimsy. Breathed has really hitting his stride in creating books aimed at our younger readers. I wish he would get the urge to publish more often-- his ability allows him to surpass Dr. Seuss in story telling and artwork. Still, I'm happy for the bits Berkeley publishes. (Did I mention that these kids books live on Dad's bookshelf? Right next to the Bloom County collections.)

I love the artwork in this one too. Look at the pictures while reading the story. Really-- the work is brilliant.
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Pete & Pickles
Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed (Hardcover - October 16, 2008)
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