My 3 year-old boy discovered these books about a year ago at my work, and he just loves them. We just checked out all three from the local library. Was he ever big stuff carrying those books out to the car… There are four books so far: Pete the Cat, Pete The Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes, Pete the Cat Saves Christmas, and Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons.
The writing is short and sweet, the pictures are groovy to say the least, and my son is actually learning while we read them.
As a young Christian parent, I have no qualms about this series. There is a Christmas one coming out, so we will have to see on that one. As a side note, the phrase, “goodness, no,” appears a number of times. Some parents may not want that.
At http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/feature/petethecat/ you can listen to the author read aloud. A group of kids and actual music accompany many of the parts. I totally recommend this as a fun read aloud for the whole family.
My mom does home daycare, and I have done these books with the kids before nap time. We dance all over the den while rocking to the books. I catch my son singing or reading along with the audio most of the recording.
I have some recommendations for children’s books that promote the Gospel in a unique and effective way. My two year old son does not regularly go for the many Bibley books we have around. I usually have to pick them out for him; his favorites these days are the Seuss books and the Fly Guy books. So these recommendations are more from me and not from his three-year-old mind.
My Big Book of Bible Stories, by Phil A. Smouse – Got this one from Truth for Life. Try to find the audio online of Alistair Begg reading the Ruth story. The book contains 17 stories from both the Old and New Testament. They are rhymed to the tune or style of Dr. Seuss. We would read them at dinner times with our two little boys.
The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd Jones – I have this one on my e-reader. The way she works Jesus into all of the familiar stories is great. Our fave story is the one about the little girl that Jesus raises from the dead. Sally clearly shows the kindness and compassion of Jesus. She also fits in a reference to Lord of the Rings, by stating that Jesus is in the business of making the sad things come untrue. Amen!
More to come…
Just a side note… Be sure to have a hymnal or other songbook in your home in order to sing some songs together as a family. My son is so excited to pick songs from the hymnal and then end with Luther’s “Mighty Fortress” as he affectionately calls it. He has all the first verse memorized. The fun part for me is trying to sight read some obscure hymn that I’ve never heard before, just because my son picked it. All the while my wife sits nearby and laughs.
This book did not meet my expectations at all. I probably went in with too many of them, but I was disappointed with the story as a whole. It was quite a chore to keep reading. As a Christ follower, I would not recommend this to any of the youth I work with. As I read, I like to try and notice truth and redemptive themes in a book, and there just wasn’t much here. I’m not too familiar with the Bolitar series by Coben, but I guess this YA book connects with his adult fiction in some way.
Mickey Bolitar, loses his father to a car wreck and his mother to substance abuse. Because of all this tragedy, he basically takes care of himself, and we get to follow him as he survives high school and uncovers a mystery. Coben tells us all about Mickey’s struggle, but never really lets the reader enter in. I just felt like an observer throughout the book. I wish Coben would have shown more of the inner struggle inside Mickey’s heart. He just reacts to stuff that happens.
Also, I am very concerned with how belief in God and respect of adults is portrayed in a children’s novel, and this particular story showed neither of these in a positive light. It’s not that there was anything horrible, but it seems like Mickey is left to his own instincts and feelings, which is a bad place to be. There’s gotta be some outside standard or moral. “Telling us to obey instinct is like telling us to obey “people.” People say different things: so do instincts. Our instincts are at war…. Each instinct, if you listen to it, will claim to be gratified at the expense of the rest….” C.S. Lewis. Mickey seems pretty lost at the outset, and I felt he wasn’t any closer to any truth in the end. Any truth that mattered at least.
For any parents or teens out there that were wondering about this one, I would go elsewhere. Comment if you would like to know more.
His Origami Series:
A comedic story in the vein of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I believe Angleberger does a much better job being funny and not just being dumb. The situations that his characters get into throughout the story are hilarious, and their reactions connect to the reader. The newest one, Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, is interesting still, but not as good as the first two. It was lacking some of the togetherness of the other books and didn’t wow me. Maybe that is because Dwight, the main character, is not featured. Also, there were some foul language issues, that I wish could have been left out. I don’t think there is one real swear word, but there are a good amount of fake, spelled different swears.
His Horton Halfpott Book:
A lively and quick mystery with clever and interesting writing. Again, Angleberger does a good job in not dumbing down his words for his audience. Horton, a lowly servant boy, tries his best to do good, and helps others in the process.
His Fake Mustache Book:
Ultimately silly, but pure fun. The chapters are short and the writing is packed tight with mystery and hilarious circumstances and happenings.
I would highly recommend this author to kids in upper elementary and middle school, boys especially.
Parents – I would recommend these books for their positive values and lack of inappropriate situations. Angleberger seems to be an author that understands the need for fiction that upholds certain values. Again, he also doesn’t dumb things down or overuse potty humor.