Title: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
Author: Eric Litwin
Illustrator: James Dean (creator of Pete the Cat)
Word Count: 310 (? I’m uncertain what all should be counted as words, especially since there are numerals that I read out as I read it to my kids, but this is a good ballpark.)
Summary: Pete the Cat loves his shirt with its four colorful buttons. But losing a button doesn’t make him love it any less. Pete can always find the good in a situation.
I decided to look at Pacing with this book. Sure, I could have looked at repetition again, like I did with Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, as this book is equally cyclical, but I decided to look at the neat way Litwin (along with Dean, the editor, and the art director) keeps you turning the pages.
Spread 1: Pete loves his shirt with the four buttons so much, he sings “this song:”
Spread 2: Pete’s song.
Spread 3: Pete loses a button. “How many buttons are left?”
Spread 4: The answer to the question (also spelled out as an equation)
Repeat for four more cycles of these spreads until the final twist ending (which you may see coming, but I didn’t. I laughed soooo hard!)
Litwin uses repetition and anticipation to great effect. In the first of the spreads the reader turns the page to see what Pete’s song is. The other Pete the Cat books I’ve read also feature songs, so this is an example of both anticipation and repetition.
After the song (Spread 2), the reader wants to know what happens next – after all, Pete’s life never seems to be easy. More anticipation and repetition (both from story to story, and within the story itself as the cycles repeat).
Spread 3 (and Spreads 7, 11, and 15) leaves the reader hanging with a question. My four-year-old practically rips the book out of my hand to turn the page and prove she got the answer right.
There’s a reason I’ve posted about two of the Pete the Cat books. Litwin knows how to keep the reader flipping pages and reading on, and always coming back for more.