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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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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