When I spend time in any classroom, from preschool through school-age, one thing they seem to almost always have in their library is Pete the Cat books. Pete the Cat is a series of books based on a character created by James Dean. In 1999, when Dean first painted Pete, I wonder how many of us would think a blue cat with yellow eyes who sometimes wears shoes would become so popular. With creative marketing and help from songwriter Eric Litwin and Dean’s wife Kim, the series continues to be a success over twenty years later. I asked a friend’s daughter, now age 9, why she liked Pete the Cat so much. She told me the books are “funny and I like the rhyming”. She said that when she was in first grade, kids would fight over the books in the school library. A family member has told me on many occasions that her daughter, age 6, requests Pete the Cat books almost every night. This girl says Pete is “cute and silly”. Since we know that children benefit from reading and they’ll be more encouraged to read if they enjoy the story, Pete the Cat books are a great choice for your classroom.
Once your class is familiar with Pete, supplement your activities and centers with “Pete-themed” items. Add high tops, sunglasses, cat ears and a blue shirt to the dramatic play area. Provide supplies for children to make Pete puppets to recreate the stories. Sing Pete the Cat songs during music and movement. For additional ideas, visit The Kindergarten Connection, written by a teacher. The post includes crafts, games and math-related activities centered around your class’ favorite feline.
Within each storyline of the series, there are many opportunities for learning. Teaching character to younger children can be difficult. In her blog, “5 Ways to Teach Good Character with Pete the Cat”, Elisa Swirgsdin provides teachers with a variety of ideas to introduce young children to traits such as perseverance, optimism and hopefulness, among others. Swirgsdin writes, “In his delightfully simple, feel-good stories, this groovy cat shows us that no matter what life may throw our way, we can always choose to look for the good in ourselves and in every situation”. Find the blog and suggested activities here.
Whether it’s the drawing style used by the author, the melodic flowing text, the humor in the books, or just Pete’s all around grooviness, the children in your class will be excited to hear the continuing adventures of the Paw-some Pete.
There are over 60 Pete the Cat Books! Just a few of the titles available include:
Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses
Too Cool for School
A Pet for Pete
Rock On, Mom and Dad!
Sir Pete, the Brave
Pete the Cat’s Train Trip
Out of This World