Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Common Sense Media says

Cute cat, catchy ditty, simple math will hook tiny readers.





What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids learn shapes (round buttons), colors, numbers, counting, and simple subtraction.

Positive messages

"... stuff will come and stuff will go. But do we cry? Goodness, No! We keep on singing."

Positive role models

Nothing gets Pete down. When he has four buttons and one pops off, he just changes his cheery song to be about three buttons. Even when he loses all of his buttons, he doesn't cry; he thinks, "It's all good!" and sings about his belly button, the one button he still has. He's not materialistic, because he knows that "Buttons come and buttons go."

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons is the third picture book in the mega-selling series that began with Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. Kids eat up these simple, repetitive stories about the deadpan kitty who sings so lovingly about his things.

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What's the story?

Pete the Cat puts on his favorite shirt, which has four colorful buttons. He loves the buttons so much that he sings a simple song about them: \"My buttons, my buttons, / my four groovy buttons. / My buttons, my buttons, / My four groovy buttons.\" Then one pops off. \"How many are left?\" asks the text, and there's a bright, full-page image of the math problem \"4 - 1 = 3.\" Pete answers, \"3,\" and then sings his ditty about his three groovy buttons, and so on, down to zero, when he has no buttons left ... except his belly button.

Is it any good?


The repetitive text is toddler-friendly but may be a little tedious for grown-ups. And the simple math is a good lesson, but the actual subtraction problems may be lost on tiny readers. Creator James Dean's childlike art in bright primary colors, and the funny blue cat, whose blank expression is virtually unchanged on every page, will engage little kids. You can make up your own tune for Pete's song or go to the publisher's website to hear author Eric Litwin's addictive hip-hop-flavored version with kid chorus for free.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes Pete the Cat cool. Is it his enthusiastic, nothing-gets-him-down attitude? His unchanging expression? His bright blue fur?

  • Have you read other Pete the Cat books? How does this one compare?

  • Do you like learning about numbers in a story?

Book details

Author:Eric Litwin
Illustrator:James Dean
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice, Music and sing-along, Numbers and letters
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:May 1, 2012
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):3 - 7
Read aloud:3 - 7
Read alone:5 - 7
Available on:Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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