What is it
Pete the Cat is a series of books starring a cool cat and his animal friends.
Who is it for
The books are for younger kids, as they tend to focus on simple concepts such as colors, friendship, etc. The show seems to be intended for slightly older kids and has stories and subtle jokes that probably only grown-ups will appreciate.
What Kids Like
Regardless of my initial impressions, kids love it. They love the illustration style and the attitude of the main character, Pete, and they love the repetitive say-along style of the writing.
We have several of the books and frequently check others out of the library.
What Parents Like
I first heard of Pete the Cat in 2008 or so. A local bookstore had a huge poster of the cat and books signed by the author. I did not understand the appeal and thought the writing and illustration was so crude and simple that anyone could do it. It made me think that I could write a children’s book if this thing could get published.
But I haven’t written a children’s book and not only did “I Love My White Shoes” get published, there are now 40+ titles in the Pete the Cat series.
The show is actually interesting to me. I don’t really have much of an opinion of the books, but the show has a certain sophistication that most kids’ shows lack. The characters talk about presence of mind and consciousness that no other show does. If anything, it hearkens back to Linus’s monologues from Peanuts.
Many kids’ shows focus on one subject. ‘Peg + Cat’ and ‘Odd Squad’ discuss math, ‘Super Why’ covers reading, ‘Arthur’ covers issues related to responsibility and friendship, ‘Word Girl’ does vocabulary, etc. But ‘Pete the Cat’ is the only one that covers philosophy. In the Halloween episode, characters have lines including, “I’m not dressed as a ghost, I’m dressed as your preconceived idea of a ghost”
There is also a strong focus on music, and real-life couple Elvis Costello and Diana Krall do the voices for Pate the Cat’s parents.
What the Critics Think
Who Made it/History
The book uses a character first devised by James Dean, an artist active in Atlanta, who drew up Pete in 1999 and in 2006 self-published The Misadventures of Pete the Cat. Litwin wrote a story about and a song for the cat, and the two began a partnership.
The collaboration between Dean and Litwin was severed in 2011. James Dean and wife Kimberly Dean continue to write and illustrate the Pete the Cat series, now over 40 books, together. Pete the Cat, the animated TV series which was released on September 21, 2018, based on James and Kimberly’s children’s books produced by Alcon, Appian Way and Phineas and Ferb co-creator Swampy Marsh was preceded by a New Years special on December 26, 2017 on Amazon. The cartoon includes the voices of Elvis Costello and Diana Krall.
Where Can I Get it
The books are everywhere. The show is on Amazon