It’s time for our first Throwback Thursday (TBT) Post! Thanks to some recent detective work, I located an entire box of books from my childhood. I cannot convey how I felt when I read some of these books for the first time in at least 20 years. It was like taking a time machine back to 1980-something (like the Goldberg’s reference there? Great show, by the way, and yes, I thought it looked stupid before I started watching it too.)
Note: Obviously, since these are TBT posts, I have no idea where the books were purchased or why, and I can’t really rate their durability given the amount of time that’s passed since they were being read with any sort of frequency. So I will forgo those categories on these posts.
And now, without further ado, here we go:
Author: William Steig
Illustrator: William Steig
Author: Dan Santat
Illustrator: Dan Santat
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Purchased: McNally Jackson
Why: It is almost impossible for me to go into a bookstore and NOT buy something. Now that I have a child, that is magnified by 1000. This book in particular captured my attention because of the cover, beautiful illustrations, and the size (it was taller than almost everything else on the shelf).
Pros: This.book.is.gorgeous. I cannot get over the illustrations, they are so beautifully done. When I picked up the book, I could tell from the first page that I wanted to add it to our collection.
The illustrations continue to captivate throughout. On one of the more spare pages, where our hero is doubting whether he will find the friend he has searched so long for, I still find myself admiring the leaves on the tree, each one of which is a star.
And I haven’t even touched on the story yet! It’s a great story, about an imaginary friend who goes out searching for his friend instead of continuing to wait around for his friend to imagine him. He faces danger and a strange new place (the real world) on his quest, which of course ends happily. I also liked that although Beekle seemed to think his friend would be a boy (at least based on the illustrations at the start of the book), his friend ends up being a little girl, Alice.
This book is a keeper. My son was enthralled with it from the first read-through, which almost never happens. Go get this one – you won’t regret it.
Durability: 4 out of 5 bite marks. Since it’s bigger, it’s tougher to carry around, and thus has less of a chance of being eaten.
Creator/Illustrator: James Dean
Story by: Eric Litwin
Purchased: Received as a gift
Pros: I have to be honest here. On my first read of this book I was like “um, what is this?”. The illustrations were messier than I was used to, for one. But, as this was a gift from a friend with a toddler, I gave it the benefit of the doubt and continued to read it to my little guy. And what do you know – it grew on me! Pete the Cat is now a favorite in our household – though I will refrain here from getting into a discussion about the books written by Eric Litwin vs those written by James Dean (the creator). I also have to admit that I’ve never actually gone online to listen to the tune – instead I’ve just made my own tunes up to sing along with the words. I kind of like it better that way – it’s ours.
For an interesting interview with James Dean on how Pete the Cat was created, you can check out this article here.
Side note: Does it bother anyone else that if Pete’s shoes were red and he stepped in blueberries, his shoes would in fact be PURPLE, not blue? Oh, the fun of reading picture books too many times and picking up on things you should never, in fact, think of.
Durability: 4 bite marks. Holding up pretty well for a regular picture book (i.e., not a board book).