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Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue Paperback – March 15, 1991


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Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue + Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months + Alligators All Around (The Nutshell Library)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Series: The Nutshell Library
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (March 15, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064432521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064432528
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 4.3 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Oh, that naughty boy! No matter what his parents say, Pierre just doesn't care.
"What would you like to eat?"
"I don't care!"
"Some lovely cream of wheat?"
"I don't care!"
Don't sit backwards on your chair."
"I don't care!"
"Or pour syrup on your hair."
"I don't care!"

Even when a hungry lion comes to pay a call, Pierre won't snap out of his ennui. Every child has one of these days sometimes. Mix in a stubborn nature, a touch of apathy, and a haughty pout, and it can turn noxious. Parents may cajole, scold, bribe, threaten--all to no avail. When this mood strikes, the Pierres of the world will not budge, even for the carnivorous king of beasts. Created by one of the best-loved author-illustrators of children's books, Maurice Sendak, this 1962 cautionary tale is hardly a pedantic diatribe against children who misbehave. Still, by the end of the lilting, witty story, most children will take the moral (Care!) to heart. Pierre's downward-turned eyebrows, his parents' pleading faces, and the lion's almost sympathetic demeanor as he explains that he will soon eat Pierre, make the package perfect. (Ages 4 to 8) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

In addition to Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak's books include Kenny's Window, Very Far Away, The Sign on Rosie's Door, Nutshell Library (consisting of Chicken Soup with Rice, Alligators All Around, One Was Johnny, and Pierre), Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More to Life, In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy, and Bumble-Ardy.

He received the 1964 Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are; the 1970 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration; the 1983 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, given by the American Library Association in recognition of his entire body of work; and a 1996 National Medal of Arts in recognition of his contribution to the arts in America. In 2003, he received the first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, an international prize for children's literature established by the Swedish government.


More About the Author

For more than forty years, the books Maurice Sendak has written and illustrated have nurtured children and adults alike and have challenged established ideas about what children's literature is and should be. The New York Times has recognized that Sendak's work "has brought a new dimension to the American children's book and has helped to change how people visualize childhood." Parenting recently described Sendak as "indisputably, the most revolutionary force in children's books."
Winner of the 1964 Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are, in 1970 Sendak became the first American illustrator to receive the international Hans Christian Andersen Award, given in recognition of his entire body of work. In 1983, he received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award from the American Library Association, also given for his entire body of work.
Beginning in 1952, with A Hole Is to Dig by Ruth Krauss, Sendak's illustrations have enhanced many texts by other writers, including the Little Bear books by Else Holmelund Minarik, children's books by Isaac Bashevis Singer and Randall Jarrell, and The Juniper Tree and Other Tales from Grimm. Dear Mili, Sendak's interpretation of a newly discovered tale by Wilhelm Grimm, was published to extraordinary acclaim in 1988.
In addition to Where the Wild Things Are (1963), Sendak has both written and illustrated
The Nutshell Library (1962), Higglety Pigglety Pop! (1967), In the Night Kitchen (1970), Outside Over There (1981), and, We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy (1993). He also illustrated Swine Lake (1999), authored by James Marshall, Brundibar (2003), by Tony Kushner, Bears (2005), by Ruth Krauss and, Mommy? (2006), his first pop-up book, with paper engineering by Matthew Reinhart and story by Arthur Yorinks.
Since 1980, Sendak has designed the sets and costumes for highly regarded productions of Mozart's The Magic Flute and Idomeneo, Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen, Prokofiev's
The Love for Three Oranges, Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, and Hans Krása's Brundibár.
In 1997, Sendak received the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton. In 2003 he received the first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, an international prize for children's literature established by the Swedish government. Maurice Sendak was born in Brooklyn in 1928. He now lives in Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

The story is small, simple, and easy to read.
E. R. Bird
This was my son's favorite book 20 years ago, now my grand children enjoy the story as well.
Lois Field
The illustrations are great, so it would be better if the book came in a bigger size.
shza525

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
In my family, there is a sin for which there is no name. If someone asks you to state an opinion one way or another, whether you're asked if you'd like a slice of cake or how you would like your hamburger cooked, you give an answer. If you chose to say, "I don't care", however, you are to be subjected to unending torments. For two minutes. The classic Sendakian classic, "Pierre", understands the horrendous nature of this sin. Taking a sort of "Mrs. Piggle Wiggle" type of extremist cure (in this case, getting eaten by a lion) the book examines Pierre's sin of noncommittalness and treats him accordingly.
Pierre is a well dressed lad. Sporting a jaunty blue suit and no shoes or socks whatsoever, he lives with his respectable mama and pop. In the first chapter, Pierre's mother attempts to elicit some sort of a decision from her son aside from, "I don't care!". Failing to do so, chapter two follows Pierre's father, who attempts the same thing. In chapter three a lion appears and the oblivious Pierre is eaten, after much dialogue with the aforementioned feline. By chapter four the parents have discovered the sickly lion (Pierre didn't go down so well, I suppose) and swiftly take the lion to the hospital. Happy ending, chapter five, the doctor merely shakes the lion and out pops Pierre. From then on, Pierre cares.
The book has much in common with the classic Little Red Riding Hood tale. Fortunately, rather than cutting Pierre out, the doctor (looking like nothing so much as a slightly modified Mr. Magoo) removes Pierre by upending the lion. The lion has seemingly learned his lesson as well, and serves as a mode of transportation for the transformed Pierre and his loving, well dressed parents. The story is small, simple, and easy to read.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am the school librarian in an elementary school in California. (a wonderful, if not well paying job) At the end of every school year, I SING this book to EVERY class for their last library visit...the children get to sing the I Don't CARE! parts. (Watch the video "Really Rosie" with lyrics and music by Carol King to learn the way it is sung) It is a JOY. The next year, all the kids want to know.."Can I check out Pierre?" Not to mention that it is a somewhat autobiographical account of Sendaks own childhood...He IS Pierre! You will love it!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Here's a way to get America's little couch spuds back into books. Get ones that can be sung as songs. And ones where the rotten little boy gets gobbled up by a lion (of course, he's okay in the end). "Pierre" is a great little tale with Sendak's usual great little drawings.
I always get choked up at the part where the mother tells her boy that he is "her only joy" and Pierre said, "I don't care."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Matt Hetling on March 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
Not too many children's authors could get away with a story in which a bad little boy is eaten up by a lion, but Sendak handles this potentially unsettling story line with a master's touch.

Children will love the repetition of "I don't care," which seems to be Pierre's response to everything, and the varied rhyme scheme keeps the text from becoming a monotonous set of couplets.

After his exasperated parents leave him home alone (the picture of them walking away from Pierre's perspective might actually be more of a threat to the listener than being eaten), a lion shows up at his house. The foolhardy Pierre is not impressed in the slightest, and won't be cowed from his trademark line when the lion asks him if he would like to be eaten. After Pierre's parents return home, they figure out what happened, assault the lion, and take him to the hospital, where a chastened Pierre is extracted uninjured.

Sendak is one of those authors whose work continues to shine more brightly than the hundreds of derivative picture books out there. Like Shel Silverstein and Roald Dahl, there is a hint of wickedness to his work, but it's all in good fun.

This is a classic, pure and simple; a complete Sendak collection is a good idea for any child!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 25, 1997
Format: Paperback
When my daughter was young she fell in love with "Pierre". Night after night "Pierre" was her favorite bed time story. This Christmas I asked what book to get her son. Fondly she said, "I don't care".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
As a child of age 5, I memorized this book word-for-word, to the amazement of my parents and all who would listen to me recite it. I am now buying it for my 2-year old, who is already at the stage of repeating lines from songs and books. Looking forward to another generation of "I don't care!" floating through the house!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Reginald D. Garrard VINE VOICE on March 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is a very good introduction to novels. Told in chapter form, the young reader can really develop an understanding of how stories are presented with self-contained sections. Even though it is a children's book designed for the beginning reader, the theme of the importance of caring can be related to the lives of all.
Mr. Sendak's use of verse adds to the lyrical quality of the selection. Children will really like the choice of words and they may relate to Pierre, who reminds me of how children sometimes reject authority as a means of asserting their independence.
By having the lion enter the story adds an element of fantasy that is another attribute of the story. The moral at the end provides the child with a glimpse of another literary element that will be encountered by children during their more advanced studies of literature.
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