The story is simple. Pete has a shirt with four buttons. The buttons pop off one by one, and Pete, the cool cat that he is, just responds with “Buttons come and buttons go.” It’s a lesson that most in the preschool set do not have an easy time understanding. Everything is a calamity from a banana that broke off to a tiny tear on the edge of a drawing. The same pattern is followed with each button, so the kids know what is coming and can “read” along. Pete’s response to the loss of his buttons is done in song, and we like to make up different tunes for each retelling which I think adds to the durability of the book. And with only four buttons, Pete gets to the ending in a timely manner. When each button falls off a corresponding math equation is pictured, including 1-1 = 0, adding a mild educational element as well.
The illustrations are done in basic colors as if they were crayon drawings. They are appealing in their simplicity. It adds to Pete’s cool factor. And that is what it really comes down to. Pete is groovy and cool. The fun continues each night. Next library trip I definitely want to get more Pete the Cat books to read.
Review by Duffy Batzer
Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litman, illustrated by James Dean (not that James Dean); HarperCollins; c2012