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Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes Hardcover – March 2, 2010
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1 A slight episode about a navy-blue cat, new white shoes, and maintaining a positive outlook. Pete the Cat strolls down the street singing, I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes. Then he steps in (actually climbs up) a huge hill of strawberries that turn his pristine sneakers red. Did Pete cry? Goodness, no! He kept walking along and singing his song. I love my red shoes.... He proceeds to step in a mound of blueberries and then a mud puddle, each incident changing his sneakers to a new hue (the colors never blend). Unsmiling but placid, Pete takes it all in stride. After stepping into a bucket more like a tub of water, he notices that his sneakers are not only white again, but also wet. Even though they are back to their original color, the next illustration perplexingly shows Pete walking along with each shoe sporting one of the four colors highlighted in the book. Bright, childlike illustrations show the long-limbed feline regularly altering his footwear but continuing not to watch where he's walking. 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. The downloadable song might help spark interest, but there's not much here to get excited about. Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
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From the Back Cover
Pete the Cat goes walking down the street wearing his brand new white shoes. Along the way, his shoes change from white to red to blue to brown to WET as we steps in piles of strawberries, blueberries and other big messes! But no matter what color his shoes are are, Pete keeps movin' and groovin' and singing his song...because it's all good.
Ages: 3 - 7
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Top Customer Reviews
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!!
Keep walking proud, Pete!
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.
Little Shop of Stories