For Pete's Sake

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Pete's a flamingo, he's sure of that. But why is he green? Why does he have four feet instead of two? And why doesn't he have feathers? Pete soon discovers he's not just another flamingo—and he learns what it means to fit in with friends.

Pete, an alligator who thinks that he is a flamingo, worries when he begins to notice the differences between him and his flamingo friends.

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Overview

Pete's a flamingo, he's sure of that. But why is he green? Why does he have four feet instead of two? And why doesn't he have feathers? Pete soon discovers he's not just another flamingo—and he learns what it means to fit in with friends.

Pete, an alligator who thinks that he is a flamingo, worries when he begins to notice the differences between him and his flamingo friends.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The sole alligator among three flamingos, Pete knows he is green, but he wants to be pink because "everyone else is." In one of this brief yet insightful tale's typically witty passages, his flamingo pals reassure him: "Don't worry.... You probably aren't ripe yet. It takes longer for some." Pete's cronies continue to comfort him when he disgruntledly observes that he has four rather than two feet ("You're lucky, Pete.... Two, and two extra") and that he doesn't have any feathers ("The best feathers take the longest to grow"). Finally he meets three fellow alligators or, as the text says, "flamingos who looked just like Pete"--and he proudly announces to his pink pals, "I'm different but the same." To which they respond, "Well for Pete's sake, Pete.... You always have been." Disappointingly, Walsh's (Jack's Tale) minimalist cut-paper collage art varies little in some sequences. Yet the narrative's inarguably sound messages, among them the superficiality of appearance and the importance of being a supportive friend, coupled with the lightness of the delivery, virtually guarantee that this read-aloud will spark worthwhile discussion. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Tina Hudak
Pete, an alligator, cavorts with his flamingo friends because he believes he is a flamingo. Obvious differences become apparent in the first half of the story. Despite the upbeat attitudes of the flamingos who are always accepting of these differences, Pete feels sad. One day he experiences an epiphany; he meets "some strangers...Flamingos who look just like Pete," and realizes, "I'm different, but the same." Although the story is reminiscent of the Ugly Duckling, this one lacks the tension among characters and the angst of self-discovery. Pete's feelings about being a misfit are framed in a constant supportive setting. This story is not direct in its meaning as Mouse Count. As a matter of fact, some of the transitions seem disjointed and may need some explanation. Yet, Walsh's stylized collage illustrations are masterfully designed. Warm shades of pink, green, blue and beige form a minimalist landscape across each folio. Every turn of the page allows the dominant white background to set a stage for the paper creatures. The text, in block format, is kept to a few lines. Where the story is weak, the illustrations are the strong element in this book.
School Library Journal
PreS-A gentle and amusing story about an alligator who believes himself to be a flamingo, despite all evidence to the contrary, and his total and unconditional acceptance by his flamingo friends. The notion that we do not need to be alike to enjoy one anothers' company is nicely expressed and beautifully illustrated by Walsh's collages that employ papers of gloriously varied textures. Simple enough for a three or four-year-old to grasp and attractive enough for adults to respond to, this picture book is an all-around winner.-Miriam Lang Budin, Mt. Kisco Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
As an alligator among flamingos, Pete is a fish out of water. In a Stellaluna-like storyline, he notices some distinct differences, such as his color (green) and theirs (pink). He's disturbed until he happens upon some fellow alligators, or, as Walsh puts it, "flamingos who looked just like Pete." The happiest aspect of the story is the flamingos' ready acceptance of Pete as one of their own; they exclaim over his luck in having two extra legs and reassure him that the best feathers take the longest to grow. Walsh's cut-paper collages, like those in Pip's Magic (1994), dexterously use flecked paper to add texture to the alligator's skin and visible threads that suggest feathers on the flamingos. The simple green and pink animals stand confidently against white backgrounds, with only a hint of rock to stand on or water to wade in, accentuating shape for young onlookers. A comforting, gladdening tale. (Picture book. 3-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152003241
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Lexile: 20L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.72 (w) x 9.84 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

ELLEN STOLL WALSH is the author-illustrator of many popular books for children, including the successful Mouse Paint and Mouse Count books. She lives in upstate New York.

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