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What Pete Ate from A to Z

by Maira Kalman

Published by G. P. Putnam, 2001
36 pages
ISBN: 0-399-23362-8

Ages 4 - 7

It's remarkable that children's authors and illustrators can continue to come up with fresh ideas for the old tried and true alphabet book. Maira Kalman's zestily illustrated story casts the 26 letters in a completely new light with the introduction of Pete, an incorrigible dog who will eat anything. Pete's owner, a young girl named Poppy Wise, not only gives us an alphabetical list of what Pete has eaten to date, but she tells the story of his eating habits with understated humor and amusing alliteration. Early on in the story, at the letter E, she makes a list for Pete, and the reader, of things that are edible, along with a list of inedible things. It's the inedible things that Pete finds most appetizing: a doll, a glue stick, a key, a quarter. Why? The answer provides the story's satisfying resolution and, of course, begins with Z. More than a mere list of the strange objects Pete has eaten, we also get a capsule history of each culinary event and learn quite a bit about Poppy, her brother, Mookie, cousin Rocky, and their friends Doreen and the Twinkle Twins, not to mention the eternally peeved Mrs. Parsley, Doreen's mother. Kalman's slightly skewed, zany art style is perfectly suited to this most appetizing alphabet book. CCBC categories: Picture Books for Older Children; Concept Books.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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