By Eric Litwin, James Dean (illustrator)
HarperCollins, $16.99, 40 pages
James Dean and Eric Litwin have done it again. With Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, Dean and Litwin have set Pete the Cat onto the groovy track (wearing his favorite shirt) and set the younger reader grooving to a new (free) song. The recorded song is available online, and don’t be surprised if everyone starts singing along with Pete. Pete the Cat’s first books introduced learning fun to kids by way of songs that focus on his shoes. In this latest installment, Pete the Cat shows off his mathematical muscles through “My buttons, my buttons, my four groovy buttons.”
As with his shoes, Pete’s clothes start going through some changes. Each time, the reader is asked the familiar “Did Pete cry? Goodness, no!” and then Pete the Cat sings his button song (not too different from the color/shoe song.) The reader is prompted “How many buttons are left?” And with this, the answer introduces the young reader to subtraction. As with the original Pete the Cat book, the pages (and cat) are colorful and bold … and fun. Kids will feel more at ease with subtracting numbers, and Pete is a groovy guide.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Humphrey