Pete may seem like an appealing role model to adults, but any child who has experienced the smirching of a new pair of shoes...

PETE THE CAT

I LOVE MY WHITE SHOES

From the Pete the Cat series

An imperturbable blue cat walks along and sings his song regardless of what he steps in.

Pete the Cat loves his white Chucks so much that he sings a repetitive ditty: “I love my white shoes, / I love my white shoes, / I love my white shoes.” (In order to accompany himself, he removes the two sneakers from his front feet and picks up an electric guitar.) Presumably not looking where he is going, he steps into a “large pile” of strawberries. The bright gouache illustrations depict Pete standing atop a mountain of red fruits—on it, not really in it, but no matter. His shoes turn red; Pete thinks to himself that “everything is cool!” and sings about his red shoes. Then—“Oh no!”—he steps into a heap of blueberries. “What color did it turn his shoes?” asks the narrator. All the children who have learned basic color theory will cry, “Purple!” and feel betrayed when the page turn indicates that Pete’s sneakers have in fact turned blue. A walk through some mud turns them brown, and then a stroll through a bucket of water turns them white again. (Now they go “squeak squeak squeak” as he walks.) Pete’s ability to shrug off the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune without even opening his eyes all the way is a quality many parents might wish their children shared, but it makes him awfully hard to relate to.

Pete may seem like an appealing role model to adults, but any child who has experienced the smirching of a new pair of shoes probably won’t buy the cool he’s peddling. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 2, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-190622-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2014

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A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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