'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 11 October 2012

Review: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

I’m always wary of a New York Times bestseller, for bestseller does most certainly not a great book guarantee. I’d never met Pete the Cat before, either – so I didn’t even have a previous encounter to back me up.

So was I impressed?

Let’s start with the illustrations. Bright, adorable, vivid, attractive, but best of all – dry. So utterly dry, it scratches. Like a cat. The look on super cool Pete’s head is so laid-back cool, you’re sure to break into a smile if not an open garumph.
In this particular story, Pete is in love with his four, bright, groovy buttons. But when one of them magically pings off his shirt, does he get distressed? Does he start to moan or cry?

My goodness me, no.

He gets on with things and simply enjoys his three remaining buttons… until one of them pings off, too – and eventually he is left with none. Well – kind of.

Text. Firstly, due to its countdown nature, I feared this was, at first, a counting book. But it’s really not. Phew. Secondly, I have an unnatural fear of repetition. I know it’s great for kids and for their speech and all that but it just gives me the major irrits. I don’t ever want to read a house that jack built ever again. Sure, it’s a wonderful book but, frankly, once (maybe twice) is enough.

Pete does get repetitious but thankfully it’s short and not too heavy and you can sing along to a song (downloadable online) presumably designed to help ailing parents with repetitive text issues. There doesn't appear to be a CD/book version so you'd better hope your internet isn't down.

For someone who personally laments sooky-la-la-whingy-kid books, I loved Pete the Cat and his deeply entrenched ‘get over it and move on’ mentality. There’s something to be said for quitting the coddling and teaching kids to get up and dust themselves off and not stress over minor, inconsequential dramas – and this, to me, is what Pete’s all about.

So, yes. I like Pete and his four groovy buttons. A lot.

Title: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
Author: Eric Litwin
Illustrator: James Dean
Publisher: HarperCollins, $23.95 RRP
Publication Date: 14 May 2012
Format: Hard cover with dust jacket
ISBN: 9780062110589
For ages: 2 - 8
Type: Picture Book