Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book Review - Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes

So, there’s a very cool cat on the preschool circuit these days. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of him – Pete the Cat. You know from the way he casually uses his nickname that he’s already oozing awesomeness – no Peter, no Pedro, no surname, just Pete. Sort of like the Madonna of cats. Or maybe Madonna is too old of a reference now, I don’t know – I guess Pete is like the Pitbull of cats.

Anyway. Pete gets in all kinds of adventures. He goes to school, he likes buttons. All activities that are very relatable to preschoolers. The story that has received a premium of attention at our house, however, is Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes.

We picked this book up at Borders for about $12. With the book comes a free download of the song that is sung multiple times within the book. I highly suggest downloading the song before even endeavoring to sing the song to your preschooler, because they will immediately call you out if you sing it incorrectly. Here’s the link to the downloads:

After we familiarized ourselves with the song, we jumped into reading the book. The story starts with our cat friend strutting down the street wearing some awesome white tennis shoes. I think you have to just suspend your disbelief that any cat on earth would allow hard-soled shoes on their feet, but I digress. Pete walks along in these shoes, just singing about how much he loves them, when he steps in a large pile of discarded fruit. I think it’s blueberries first. The book doesn’t really clarify if the fruit is rotting, or why it’s in a pile the size of a city dump on the sidewalk, but that’s not even the really weird part. Cats are sort of fastidious and quick on their feet – I have trouble believing that a cat would not see a pile of blueberries several times bigger than he is sitting in the middle of a sidewalk. Regardless, he steps directly into the middle of this pile.

Does this anger Pete, or disturb him in the slightest that his beloved white shoes are now the color of discarded blueberries? Goodness, no! Pete is so zen that he just changes his song, now singing about how much he loves his blue shoes. I sort of picture Pete as the Dalai Lama and Johnny Depp, all rolled into one package of laid-back black cat.

Now, after this first mishap, Pete continues on his way. One would figure he’d probably be more on the lookout for giant piles of fruit. You would be wrong, however. Pete comes across a mountainous pile of strawberries. I honestly have no clue how he could not have seen this, since he would have had to scale this pile, but yet he plows into it again, further ruining his shoes. Now they’re not blue, but red. Did Pete cry? Goodness, no! He still is just the epitome of calm and collected. Once more, he just casually adjusts his song, now indicating how much he adores his red shoes.

Luckily, Pete now seems to be on the lookout for berries and fruit. We do not see him step into anymore for the remainder of the book. However, he’s not aware enough to sidestep mud, which turns his shoes brown. (Again, it’s cool, now he loves those shoes.) Then, he steps in a giant bucket of water. This water washes away all of those fabulous colors Pete had grown to love, and now he’s back to his white shoes. Luckily, Pete still doesn’t care. The moral of the story is that you apparently shouldn’t care what you step in or what life throws at you, it’s all good.

From a metaphorical standpoint, I like this. Don’t sweat the small stuff, etc., etc. These are good life lessons. However, since I’m the one who buys my particular preschooler’s rather expensive shoes, I wish we could illustrate this with another lesson rather than that it’s okay to step in crap constantly. I can’t picture this being a popular lesson at her school, either – I wouldn’t really want a classroom of 3-year-olds with stanky, messy feet because they all decided to try and see if they could turn their shoes brown. Pete’s a cat, couldn’t he just not cry over spilt milk? I mean, I don’t want her dumping out jugs of milk or anything, either, so maybe that’s not a good lesson, either. I’ll probably circle back to this when I’ve had more time to consider it.

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