WHAT PETE ATE FROM A-Z by Maira Kalman

WHAT PETE ATE FROM A-Z

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 8

KIRKUS REVIEW

Pete is a dog of alphabetic appetites, who eats everything, from cousin Rocky’s accordion to a whole lot of yo-yos. What he will not eat, however, is his “Zug Zug Dog Grub (zip, zilch, zero.) Can you blame him?” Although the work dutifully features representations of each letter in cursive script as well as both upper- and lower-case Roman letters, this is clearly not your beginning alphabet book. Some of the letters are glossed with alliterative energy—for “H”: “He ate half (1/2) of my homework. But did Mrs. Hoogenschmidt believe me? HA! (Hardly.) Horrible dog.”—but others are illustrated so subtly that the reader loses touch with the theme. The typography has a baroque, expansive quality in keeping with Pete’s excesses, but unconventional capitalization and coloring muddy the alphabetical relationships further. The paintings carry Kalman’s (Next Stop Grand Central, 1998, etc.) signature zany energy, with Pete, a blond, bearded mutt, frequently portrayed with the remains of his unconventional diet hanging out of his mouth. The practice of using the alphabet as an organizing principle for a children’s book is a long and honored one, but this is an example of one of its pitfalls. While it begins with promise, it has no actual narrative and the reader loses energy by the time the 26th letter rolls around. For an equally fizzy celebration of doggy greed that manages to maintain its momentum, try this year’s Swollobog, by Alistair Taylor (p. 339). (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-399-23362-8
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2001




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