Friday, June 8, 2012

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean

Rating: 5 stars

This one goes out to all the math people out there...who knew there could be a children's book on math--and a cool one at that?  And one with a foot-tappin' (if you're Kiefer, body-shakin') song?

So Pete the Cat, the resident Jamiroquai of children's books, is back.  And I'm pretty grateful for him.  Just when our house has reached another can-we-be-more-tired level, this book arrived.  We had already listened to it a few dozen times online (listen to it!  you'll smile for sure!), but the actual book did not disappoint.  This book ROCKS.

The story:  Pete the Cat puts on his favorite shirt, one with four, round, groovy buttons (what a joy to teach my kids the definition of "groovy!"  It's a new favorite word) and sings his song: "My buttons, my buttons, my four groovy buttons!"

"OH NO!  Another button popped off and rolled away."
And then...

"POP!  OH NO!  One of the buttons popped off and rolled away.
Did Pete cry?  Goodness, no!
Buttons come and buttons go.
How many buttons are left?  THREE!
Pete went on singing his song..."

(Not much square root...maybe that's in the next one...but just enough for a preschooler.)

The song goes on, going from three to two to one, something easy and fun enough for little ones to work on their prediction skills, which is a huge chunk of why we're supposed to be reading to these tykes to begin with.  And then...they get to zero.  He looks down at his open shirt and...finds his belly button!  I love how he finds a way to smile after all those groovy buttons are gone.  Making lemonade out of lemons.  Finding the good in the not-so-good.  What a lesson.

But my favorite lesson that Mr. Eric sneaks in is "buttons come and buttons go."  I'm always telling the kids: "No big deal, right?" when they argue about whose turn it is to do something or if they didn't get something they wanted.  Sometimes it IS a big deal when something comes, and especially when it goes, but...hopefully they won't learn this lesson anytime soon.

I think I might have a crush.  On a cat.  This Pete guy.


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