The Barnes & Noble Review
Maira Kalman's mischievous tail-wagger with the unparalleled zest for eating makes an especially studious -- and totally hilarious -- comeback in this follow-up to What Pete Ate from A-Z.
Although pets have been banned from Poppy Wise's school since Judy the snake was lost and "everyone went nuts," that rule isn't going to keep Pete away. During Mr. Spitzer's math class, the hungry pooch scrambles in, "and before you could say quadratic equation," much of the classroom has been snarfed up along with the science teacher's equipment, Miss Crumple's crayons for art class, and Mr. Moosebrugger's orchestra instruments. Pete gets banished to the principal's office, and after he devours a 26-volume encyclopedia, the pooch soon begins spouting off phrases on a par with Spinoza. Cleverly, Poppy and her brother disguise Pete as "Pearl Buttonweiser" and sneak him back into school, where the dog's recitations of Gertrude Stein poems and his apology to the principal wind up making him the class's top dog.
With her signature artwork that spins a Chagall-like imagination into a wacky tale all her own, Kalman serves up a picture book to whet any reader's appetite for fun. Pete is one dog with pizzazz, and kids will have a howling good time as they see his wry expressions and hunt for verbal and visual treasures on every page. As usual, the author sets the example for picture book sophistication that's both accessible and winning.
Irreverently sophisticated yet endearing, in Kalman's distinctive style, Smartypants is silly, funny and smart. The informal yet skillful illustrations incorporate visual jokes and asides from minor characters, which add to the fun. Younger children will particularly enjoy many of the slapstick aspects but, because of the dry wit and the tongue-in-cheek jokes, Smartypants may find an audience among middle-grade children as well.
In this whimsical sequel to What Pete Ate, from A-Z, Pete the dog makes like Mary's little lamb and follows his owner to school. Poppy Wise, the girl who casually reports on Pete's antics, is in math class with "Mr. Grompi Spitzer, the gribbliest teacher on earth, [when] in ran Pete... and before you could say quadratic equation, he ate the blackboard, the fractions in a box marked fractions and Mr. Spitzer's pants." Poppy's apoplectic teachers, including a "boiling mad" science instructor, Miss Magma, are "agog at a dog running amok and causing havoc." They send the innocent-looking terrier to the principal's office, where he gobbles up a 26-volume encyclopedia. Pete experiences a transformation familiar to fans of Susan Meddaugh's Martha books: the encyclopedia enables him to speak eruditely on any subject. The next day, he recites a selection from Gertrude Stein to Poppy's English class, before digesting the books and losing the power of speech. Kalman's bubbly wordplay and choppy, conversational sentences convey the hilarity of Pete's unannounced visit, and her comical gouache portraits of the teachers make light of intellectual pretensions. Warmly lit classroom and living room settings, in tangy shades of sweet-potato orange, curry yellow and leafy green, recall Matisse's paintings of interiors in Southern France or Pierre Bonnard's luscious canvases. Although the plot twist comes as no surprise-surely Pete does more than just eat things-Kalman's inimitable verve comes through in the sly text and illustrations. Ages 5-up. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
REVIEWTEXT: A whimsical tale about a girl's adventures with her dog, Pete, this book is entertaining for readers young and old. Poppywise and her brother Mookie have a great family dog who likes to eat everything, especially what he shouldn't eat. Pete starts with eating an accordion and goes through the entire alphabet but that is only part of the story. Poppywise is enduring another day at school including the nervous math teacher when in runs Pete. He eats fractions and the teacher's pants before he gets to Miss Magma's science class. The art teacher, Miss Crumple, is a little more understanding of Pete's shenanigans since there are no rules in art class. When Pete is sent to the principal's office there are many choices, but he decides to eat the 26-volume encyclopedia. That night he is able to help Poppywise and Mookie with their homework and they welcome him into the school. How will this tale end? There is even a pop quiz at the end. A great use of the alphabet inspiring creativity for readers this book also includes fanciful artwork.
K-Gr 4-Pete the dog eats everything-he devours TV remotes, musical instruments, blackboards, the math teacher's pants, and entire sets of encyclopedias. "I ate the encyclopedia, and I am REALLY smart," he said after he spent the day in school with his owner, in violation of the No Pets rule. On that day, he was able to talk and help the Wise children with their homework. But once the encyclopedia was "digested," he went back to being plain old Pete. Maira Kalman's book (Putnam, 2003) is a quirky school story set to bouncy music. The tale is related by Poppy Wise, Pete's owner, and the female narrator provides a lively reading. Her voice is perfect for the little girl and the other characters. Some animation has been added to the artwork, making this title a delight to the eye as well as the ear. Kids will laugh out loud while watching this fun video.-Marilyn Hersh, Hillside Elementary School, Farmington Hills, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A delightful, cleverly written combination of wackiness and academia. When Poppywise's dog Pete (who always eats everything in sight, as noted in What Pete Ate from A-Z ) sneaks into school, the result is inevitable: he gobbles up not just an entire orchestra's instruments and "the fractions in a box marked fractions," but also a 26-volume encyclopedia. Soon he's using words like "ergo" and "empirically" and explaining gravity and light bulbs. It's temporary, but that's okay; the best thing happening here is not Pete's new talent but the luscious spattering of real subjects (Gertrude Stein, trapezoids, gerunds, The Bill of Rights) into the story. It's interesting how successful the illustrations are-colorful, energetic, and varied-considering the absence of technical drawing skills. The humor and details won't work for group readings, but this is an excellent choice for early readers to try on their own or with a playful adult. (Picture book. 5-8)