Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean

A delightful new character has entered the world of picture books: Pete the Cat. This first in the series shows how authors and illustrators can combine books with music to bring a new angle to a story. Indeed, the story, though already somewhat rhythmic, shines more brightly with the accompaniment of this song that the reader can download for free from the HarperCollins children’s website.

As Pete wanders around in his new white shoes, singing his shoe song, he finds that his shoes change. In the end, he turns what could have been a huge disappointment into something he learns to simply shrug off and then move on to the next day.

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean

In this story, we follow cool cat Pete on a typical day at cat school. Oddly enough, many of his activities parallel those of children at school. Unlike most children, however, he brings along something that helps him forget his worries when going somewhere new, or someplace loud and noisy and busy: he brings a song. His fun and catchy song — about his school shoes — makes him forget the things that worry him.

The book, which is the second in the Pete the Cat series, really comes alive with the downloadable song listed on the front inside cover of the book. Kids and parents alike will go away humming the “school shoes song”.

Pete the Cat: Pete’s Big Lunch by James Dean

In this I Can Read book for beginning readers, our friend, Pete the Cat, finds that lunchtime has arrived, and he is more than a little hungry. Fortunately, this cat knows how to prepare his own lunch. The reader soon begins to notice, however, that this cat’s eyes are quite a bit bigger than his stomach. With the help of a few hungry friends, Pete comes up with a creative solution to the problem of having created a super-sized lunch. And the solution ends up being a good message for young readers to receive.

Emily Castilla is an avid reader and mother of three.