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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, story by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean. Harper, 2012. $18.99 ages 2 and up



One of the buttons popped
off and rolled away.

How many buttons are left?"

If you are a Pete the Cat fan, or if you know little ones who are, you will be understandably excited to read his newest adventure with counting and clothing. Pete's wearing a brilliant yellow shirt that sports 'four groovy buttons' and each one is a different color. The buttons are large and easy to see, adding vibrant tones to the already noticeable shirt.

Pete is beloved by many after his new shoes (great for talking about colors) and his dancing shoes (a journey through a day at school) got them clapping their hands, tapping their toes and singing his songs. It's fun to anticipate what might come next. Here, Eric Litwin uses counting to add to Pete's teaching repertoire. He does it with another 'groovy' song, and an interest in numbers. It's counting backward which is the layman's term for subtraction. With each lost button, listeners are invited to guess how many buttons might be left on the shirt. Talk about fun! Even more humorous is what Pete discovers when his shirt buttons have all popped off.

Repetitive language, a familiar character, rhythmic verse and known responses make this another hit for the preschool and early years crowd. They will lap it up, singing along and laughing out loud. The artwork remains the perfect accompaniment to the text, with bright colors, expression-filled action and the comfort of setting in a series book. Children will know what to expect, and will love every minute shared with Pete once again.

The rumor is that there will be a new Pete the Cat book this fall just in time for Christmas, and with a Christmas theme. How cool will that be?

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