Here at The Madhouse, we already knew The Cat in the Hat, Poppy Cat and Guess with Jess, Postman Pat's cat, but we'd never heard of Pete the Cat, so I was keen to see what we'd make of the two lovely bright-coloured, hard-backed children's books that we were sent to review. We received two titles, I Love My White Shoes and Rocking In My School Shoes, and all three mini testers were instantly attracted by the illustrations on the covers.
We started off with I Love My White Shoes, the fabulous tale of Pete the Cat going out for a walk in his brand new white shoes, which don't stay clean for very long. He walks in a pile of strawberries and turns them red, then blueberries which turns them blue, mud that turns them brown, and water to make them white but wet again. It's a really fun, interactive read that even the youngest readers can join in with, because the story asks what colour his shoes will turn next before you turn the page, resulting in much frantic colour shouting ! The little song that Pete sings after each colour change (“I love my white/red/blue/brown/wet shoes ...”) will lead to much joyous singing, especially if you accompany the words with a swaggering dance that they can imitate. Much giggling ensued and after just one read together, Juliette was word-perfect in “reading” it to her little brother when I was busy, just by looking at the pictures and remembering the text. The girls are always getting in trouble with their dad for not keeping their shoes clean so they really loved the story too. I also love the positive “it's all good” moral of the story, which appeals to my more laid-back style of parenting !
On to the second book, Rocking In My School Shoes, where Pete the Cat discovers his new school and is totally unfazed by his new surroundings – perfect for Juliette who is moving up to “big school” in September and is slightly apprehensive. The book follows the same format as the first book, with the infectious “I'm rocking in my school shoes” song and dance routine that the whole family can join in with as you read, and the same audience participation, this time asking which areas of the school Pete will discover next. The only slight problem is the American words that British youngsters won't find, such as the lunch room, but it's easy enough to change that to its British equivalent when you read. You might have to explain the concept of the school bus too, but this is a great way of introducing different cultures and traditions to older readers. Pete's “It's All Good” mentality is again at the fore and this has now become a catchphrase in our house when the girls get stressed out over nothing !
The books are illustrated by James Dean and written by Eric Litwin (aka Mr Eric), described in the biography as “a guitar-strumming, song-singing, story-telling, banjo-picking, harmonica-blowing, fun and folksy type of guy”. If you go to the Harper Collins Children's website at www.harpercollinschildrens.com/petethecat , you can download the song and the story for free. I guarantee, if you're anything like us, you'll be singing it and laughing about it for days to come !
Star rating : 5/5
RRP : £9.99 each
Other reviews you may be interested in :