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

4.6 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the Nutshell Library Series

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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.



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.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Lexile Measure: 340 (What's this?)
  • 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: 4.2 x 0.1 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My favorite children's book. My son is 28 now, but I read this book to him so many times, we had it memorized. It was falling apart so I ordered a new one. Now I'll read this one to my grandchildren.
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My son (age 5) loves this book and laughs hysterically when we read it. I grew up reading this book, which is cool. Beware - it's a really TINY book, which is the only reason I am giving this book 4 stars instead of 5.
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You must have this sing songy crazy book. Of course you can't be swallowed whole by a lion and survive but it almost takes an awakening like that to get to some disrespectful, smug, and disobedient children before they end up permanently unable to be saved. Kind parents at their wits end will see themselves in this. And mean spirited children may hopefully see themselves in this cautionary tale and correct their behavior before they become big cat food in the world out there and mean nothing to anyone because people all gave up trying to save them. Seeing they can be accepted if they only listen…and fun things can happen if you do may change some minds. I think this is the 97th copy I have shared. If not given in ernest. Give it as fun. It is delightful.
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