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Monday, March 21, 2011

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

Fantastic - and yes, I did read it to my children

Pete and Pickles is the story of a lonely, widower pig and an exuberant, outgoing elephant that escaped from a circus. According to the back flap, it was inspired from a drawing that Breathed's five-year old made in a restaurant. She drew an elephant hugging a pig in its trunk.

Breathed asked why the elephant is holding the pig.

"The pig's sad."


"Because he's lonely, Dad...But he doesn't know it," she whispered.

Pete is indeed lonely. He misses his wife who has died. Pickles comes into his life unexpectedly and turns it all over and, in a way, saves it. Or, at least makes it worth living.

I cannot imagine the adult that does not tear up at the end of this book (I've got no qualms with it - this 40 year old Republican darn near cried!).

Berkeley Breathed
On top of a great story you've got great pictures. The art is top-notch. Careful observation will show you that Breathed previews most of the book with the art on the walls of Pete's house. It's something fun to go back and look at with the kids.

As for those reviewers that claim that this is inappropriate for kids, I say, "Phhphhtt!" (to quote Opus, Breathed's beloved Penguin character from Bloom County.) I talked to my children all the way through the book as we read it. I talked about how Pete misses his wife like their Grandpa misses their Grandma who has passed on. Is it sad? Sure it is, but life's full of sadness. This book deals with it and shows you can move on. I talked about how Pete gets angry when Pickles messes with his wife's things, I talked about how they were still friends and how he is much happier at the end than he was at the beginning. Guess what? I talk with my kids when we watch TV, too. That's part of the job of being a parent.

Highly recommended for all ages.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Pete and Pickles.

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