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Pete & Pickles Hardcover – October 16, 2008
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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.
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
Top customer reviews
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I'm buying another one, as well as sterling silver beads of a pig and an elephant, as a Christmas gift for a grandchild.
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!
"Pete and Pickles" is another combination of brilliant art and meaningful story telling. Most children's books are read once and chucked. "Pete and Pickles", however, is one I revisit often to read to my kids. If they would let me, I would probably be reading it to them while they are in high school.
If you haven't hopped on the Berkeley Breathed wagon yet, check out "Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big," "The Last Basselope: One Ferocious Story", "Goodnight Opus", "Flawed Dogs", and "Mars Needs Moms". All are so creative, thoughtful, and charming that your children will love and learn from them over and over.
--Guy P. Harrison, author of
Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know About Our Biological Diversity
50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God
Breathed asked why the elephant is holding the pig.
"The pig's sad."
"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.
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.