Today was filled with anticipation because I knew when I got home tonight one of my favorite book characters would be waiting for me on my front porch. Yes, it was Pete the Cat! This time Pete comes to us in the book, Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by the dynamic duo Eric Litwin and James Dean. I had the pleasure of meeting this creative team this past February at the Dublin Literacy Conference. They gave participants a sneak peak of this new book and I immediately pre-ordered it.
As you can guess, yes Pete the Cat is wearing a shirt with four big, colorful, round, groovy buttons. (Right there is a great mentor text for describing one word as a writer.) His shirt is yellow. His buttons are on the larger size, I think that is what makes them groovy. The buttons are turquoise, green, blue, and red which also compliment the yellow shirt against this blue cat. Eric Litwin's color choices are vibrant, inviting, warm and cool. I love turquoise against a lime green background.
This book combines my love for books and my love for teaching mathematics. When Pete loses his buttons he is counting backwards. Students will need to understand numbers and the relationship between quantities. Students could compare numbers. Pete is subtracting by taking from and modeling subtraction through drawings. The reader will also discover number sentences with mathematical symbols.
With series books good readers have expectations and James Dean didn't let us down. Pete has speech bubbles, Pete sings a song, Pete doesn't cry, Pete has a positive message again. The message is, "Buttons come and buttons go." I can't tell you the ending because it would take away from the whole book but let's just say it is funny! Students are going to burst out laughing and you will too watching them truly enjoying a book. The ending of the book and what Pete does actually brought hesitation from the publishers. There were questions about fact or fiction characteristics of a cat. There were questions about fur exposure - yes, on a cat?! I'm so grateful James and Eric plugged along, preparing their song and art because as Pete says, "It's all good!"
PS - Pete the Cat has a Christmas book coming later this year.