Friday, August 17, 2012

Book #230: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin, Illustrated by James Dean

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Pete the Cat loves his white shoes. He loves them so much he sings about them as he walks down the street. Unfortunately, he steps in a big pile of strawberries (don’t ask why), which turn his beautiful white shoes red!

“Did Pete cry?
Goodness, no!
He kept walking along and singing his song.”

Pete’s shoes continue to change colors as he walks down the street through piles of blueberries and puddles of mud. Finally, Pete walks right into a bucket of water and sings about his wet shoes, which are now white again.

The text of the book swings along to a rocking beat with a repetitive chorus, which makes this book wonderful for reading aloud. Litwin (aka Mr. Eric) regularly performs for children and you can feel that sensibility in the text. Dean’s illustrations feature bright colors and bold, thick brush strokes. Pete the Cat is deadpan fellow, who sports the same soulful gaze no manner what. Pete isn’t your average cat; for starters, he wears sneakers. He also drinks coffee and plays the electric guitar and banjo. The book ends with the moral, “No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song…because it’s all good.” Kids may not completely understand that idea, but the spirit of Pete’s coolness will give them a good basis for the concept later on.

Make up your own little ditty for Pete’s song about his shoes. Or you can listen to Mr. Eric sing/read the book on the HarperCollins website. The site also includes activities, videos, songs, and more Pete the Cat stuff. You can find information about the other Pete the Cat books as well.

After you read the story, ask the kids what color shoes they like to wear and you can sing the song again with those colors. You can also sing about polka dotted or striped shoes. Turn this into a longer activity by having the kids draw themselves or Pete wearing their favorite color shoes.

Use this book for storytime about shoes or about getting dressed. Pair it with rhymes, such as Five Pairs of Shoes. It’s also a fun addition to a cat storytime. Try pairing it with other humorous cat books, like There Are No Cats in This Book.

This would also be a fun story to do as a flannelboard. The kids could also use the felt pieces to retell the story.


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