Pete the Cat is a very simple, but wonderfully put together book. In this book, we meet Pete the Cat, a hip blue cat who loves his shoes. The illustrations reveal Pete to be a hipster-esque cat, who walks through life to the tune of his own internal groove.
As Pete takes a walk outside, he steps in all sorts of things: strawberries, blueberries, mud, and water. Stepping in each of these piles or puddles changes the color and condition of Pete’s shoes. After each encounter, Pete has the opportunity to be sad or angry or frustrated, but instead Pete accepts what happens and continues on his way. Litwin writes, “Did Pete cry? Goodness, no! He kept walking along and singing his song.” In doing this, Pete teaches us all an important lesson: the moral, as stated at the end of the story, is, “No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song…because it’s all good.” Whether or not we see life as good, as Pete does, all depends on how we choose to interpret our daily experiences.
In a very simple way, Pete teaches kids (and their parents) that they can interpret their own reality. Instead of being upset or whining or complaining when things go unexpectedly, they can choose to celebrate the new thing that comes along. By celebrating each change in his shoes instead of lamenting it, Pete encourages us to focus on the positive aspects of what we come upon. By looking at an unexpected event in this manner, Pete models how we can choose to shift our perspective and continue along with our joyful journey.
Pete the Cat’s rhythmic text is easy to read aloud, and the repetition allows kids to participate quickly and easily (“Goodness no!” is definitely a favorite line around here). Both of my boys love this book, and we’ve read it out loud hundreds of times. It encourages a perspective of gratitude, and empowers children to choose how they view the events they experience throughout their day. Those are lessons all of us should hear over and over again.