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Pete & Pickles Hardcover – October 16, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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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
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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
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 5 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
  • Lexile Measure: AD620L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books; First Edition edition (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 (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has some real depth to it, but it's not preachy. My minister used it as the basis for sermon in church as he was about to leave for another assignment. We all loved the message, and the book makes it sink in. A parent can use the book as a jumping off point for discussion of how people's personalities differ, what risk-aversion is, how attempting new things can be rewarding, what friendship is, how people of very different backgrounds can be loyal friends, etc., etc.

I'm buying another one, as well as sterling silver beads of a pig and an elephant, as a Christmas gift for a grandchild.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great story. Very relevant and timely story. My seven year-old granddaughter and I both love this book. I have been a huge fan of Berke Breathed since I used to eagerly await the Sunday paper to read Bloom County in the very early eighties. Both my Grand-daughters and I have enjoyed his children's books for years. Just Because Disney made "Mars needs Moms" very Creepy doesn't diminish that book itself and "Pete and Pickles" is a very worthy addition to his collection.
Other reviewers imply that this story is not for children and to them I say that I have no idea what they are talking about. These are undoubtedly the same people who think that the beginning of Bambi and elements of Big Hero 6 are too much for small children. Ultimately the story is not at all sad, but rather uplifting and enlightening. Highly recommend to all!
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By Nancp on January 4, 2011
Format: 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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