A string of aphorisms and inspirational quotations are glossed and illustrated by that groovy blue cat.
The results are predictably simplistic. Pablo Picasso’s “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up” is reduced by Pete to “It’s cool to color outside the lines!” The picture Pete is coloring in the accompanying illustration looks generically childlike, with no hint of cubist genius nor even many violations of the lines. Confucius’ “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated” becomes “Keep it simple! Chill out!”; Pete lolls in a hammock and lifts a glass in one fingerless paw. That attitude carries over in demeanor if not setting for Thomas Edison’s wry and pointed “Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Pete, duly dressed in overalls, perches on a tractor. Though he tells readers, “Amazing things happen when you work hard!” his trademark heavy-lidded, couldn’t-care-less gaze does not bespeak a hard worker; unsurprisingly, there is no hint of anything “amazing” in the surrounding picture, which is just a wash of green. Trite though many of these sayings have become, they still offer far more opportunities for invention and illustration than Dean seems able to find in them.
Pete sucks the substance from these words of wisdom and guidance; for avowed lovers of Pete the Cat only. (Picture book. 4-84)