Monday, October 14, 2013

Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by Kimberly & James Dean

Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by Kimberly & James Dean, illustrated by James Dean

Rating: 4 stars

He's ba-ack! And in a very good way...

Pete the Cat finds himself in a situation for which he's not totally prepared: he's grumpy.  "Pete had the blue cat blues."  His trademark cool black ears aren't sticking up--they are flopped down sadly, and Pete's trademark cool eyes are looking rather glum.

But that's okay, because his pal Grumpy Toad, who is actually less grumpy than Pete, rolls up on his motorcycle and gives Pete some cool blue magic sunglasses that will help him see everything in a whole new way.  And it works!  Turn the page, and all the blue has turned to sunlight bright yellow!

"Right on!" declares Pete, suddenly cool and happy again.

Pete the Cat had the blue cat blues.
Pete wears the sunglasses and skateboards along his day, bumping into animal friends that are grumpy. He shares his cool blue magic sunglasses with them and they, too, begin to see the world in a lighter, brighter way.  Once they don the classy shades, they each chant:
The birds are singing!
The sky is bright!
The sun is shining!
I'm feeling all right!
At the end of the book, Pete falls off his skateboard and breaks the sunglasses.  Oops!  He realizes that the magic sunglasses really just have a placebo effect (my word, not Dean', you won't have to explain to your child what a placebo effect is), and he can still change the color of his world, the tone of his day, the mood within himself by simply choosing happiness.  There's not really any magic in them.

The sunglasses are cool, but they're not a necessary accessory for a good attitude.

The chant isn't quite so catchy as his first two books, but James and Kimberly Dean definitely did a lot of things right in this book.  I really like that cool Pete is in a bad mood--shows that we all have emotions and grumpy days are part of life.  I like that he shares his sunglasses and good mood with others--I always tell the kids that the most important thing they need for school is a smile, meaning a good, open attitude.  Cheesy, but they've got to know it.

Oh, and here's another fun thing: In the back of the book, there's a pair of cool blue magic sunglasses that you can rip out, put together, and wear.  Kiefer was dismayed to learn that we actually needed to BUY the book in order to WEAR the sunglasses.  And Lorelei and Ben wondered why, when you put on the blue sunglasses, did your blues go away and everything turns bright yellow...but they didn't stick around for my lecture on suspending your disbelief while reading fiction...

But that leads me to wonder: When the library gets copies of this book, do the librarians rip out the sunglasses and wear them around before we all get there, gettin' their Pete the Cat groove on before story time?  I sure hope so!

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