Allergies, Book Recommendation, Book Review, Cats, Children Literature, Dr. Seuss, Eric Litwin, Four Groovy Buttons, Go Dog Go, Harper Collins, Harry Potter, James Dean, Kids, Learning Groove, Life, Parenting, Pete the Cat, reading, Roald Dahl, School Shoes, Tolkien, White Shoes
I have always been allergic to cats, which means my relationship to them has been one of avoidance for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, most cats do not know our little “arrangement,” and seem to seek me out, enjoying the little sufferings that they cause me as I sniffle and cough at their mere presence.
Each time this occurs, the cat owner will laugh and tell me how cats always seek out the one with allergies, the one showing them the least interest. They always seem amused by this idea; me, I have always have seen it as something more sinister. Yes, I might giggle out loud but inside I am preparing for the possibility of feline confrontation.
Okay, let me clarify, I don’t think cats want my downfall, nothing like that; I simply think cats know they have some power over me and relish in it.
Finally, able to put a human in its place—that has to be the thought—as they rub against my legs, crawl up on my lap, or rub against my arm. Leaving their fur everywhere they can, knowing that I will have to wash everything when I get home.
Little bits and pieces of torture with fur.
Pete the Cat
My daughter is 21-months old and is obsessed with Pete The Cat. For those parents who don’t know what I am talking about they need to seek this series of books out. Originally, created by artist James Dean, the three popular books in the series had stories by Eric Litwin, a singer and creator of music for children (The Learning Groove).
I first heard of the series through Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, but my daughter (thanks to Christmas) now has the rest of the books, a stuffed toy, a Christmas ornament (which she pointed out on the tree every time she got a chance), and the music. Oh the music! Harper Collins wonderfully, and for free, share the MP3 music performances of the books on their site for download.
Dear Harper Collins, this parent thanks you. Thanks to those MP3s my kids have a “dance party” each night before bed, where they dance at all of the right times and repeat all of the right lines along with Mr. Eric. It’s like a little cult in a way, but a very cute one.
It’s All Good
When my daughter’s daycare teacher told us we needed to get the books for her, I must admit I laughed it off.
I know children’s books.
Please! My son’s bookshelf was completely filled with classic literature and children’s books before he was even born! It had five shelves (five!) reaching almost to the ceiling, and was carefully organized so that for each height he reached, the next level of reading was ready for him; taking him from Go, Dog. Go! up to the work of J.R.R. Tolkien (with stops for Harry Potter and Roald Dahl on the way). Yes, if you were to see my children’s library you would not only be impressed but transported to your childhood (I have seen people go through the shelves exploring. I am not joking).
Yeah, of course, there are the Goodnight Moons of classics, but that is easy! I take it a step further in planning. For example, I don’t have Berenstain Bears after they stopped the rhyming. I’ll take Bears in the Night and a silly Papa Bear story over those episodic tales any day of the week. (And speaking of my kids books, can I add that I am wicked fast at Fox in Socks. No reason really, I just like to brag about that.)
So I must admit when someone recommends a children’s book to me my first reaction is to feel a little insulted…
But cats are wrong about me. I am not a human that deserves torture. Here is proof- I admit I don’t know everything. Yes, I missed something in planning my kids’ library.
Pete the Cat is awesome. And I highly recommend the books to my fellow parents.
Buttons Come and Buttons Go
Why do I love this series?
One thing you don’t realize until you have kids is how much they are still learning about their own emotions. Put a piece of broccoli in front of a young child and tell them they can’t leave the table until they eat it and you will see what I mean. Everything goes from extreme to extreme, happy and sad. Sometimes, honestly, it feels like the only time they are in the normal middle they are asleep.
The theme for three of the books (I’m going to skip the Christmas book in this review) is that Pete the Cat doesn’t get worried, he doesn’t cry, he doesn’t get upset.
- He doesn’t complain when he gets his shoes wet or muddy. (Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes)
- He doesn’t get scared by the loud lunchroom at school. (Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes)
- Pete doesn’t even cry when his favorite shirt is ruined. (Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons)
Pete brushes all of this off (he even seems to have a stoic expression in each great illustration), declaring in each volume that it’s “all good.”
What a great message for kids!
Some may think it is too laid back but I think it is perfect, a message a kid can take away and use every day in their daily lives! And, speaking as a fan of the genre, I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of another children’s book attempting this before. An actual new and unique message! For that fact alone the creators should be praised.
This message has snuck its way out of the books into my parenting. And I have actually been able to ask my daughter, when she is mad if Pete cried? Usually, she will declare “Goodness no!” and go on with her life, the moment passing.
Pete The Cat is huge and only growing, with four books set to be issued just this year. However, as a parent and a fan I am a little concerned. Eric Litwin is not associated with any of the four books coming out. This saddens me since I feel like some of the energy and fun that made the series unique (the playfulness and music) might be lost. Hopefully, this is just a temporary thing.
Whatever the case, a new character has entered my children’s life, one I was not expecting… and it is a cat.
A actual freaking cat…
A few nights ago before falling asleep, my five-year old son asked me if they can have a cat after I die. I did my best to laugh it off, but I blame Pete the Cat a little. So maybe it’s not all good?
If you liked reading this post, why not check out one of my books? I’ve had three novels published in the last few years, A Jane Austen Daydream, My Problem With Doors and Megan. You can find them via my amazon.com author page here, or as an eBook on Google eBooks here. Thanks for reading!…