Pete's a Pizza

Book review by
Peter Lewis, Common Sense Media
Pete's a Pizza Book Poster Image
A brilliant piece of children's literature.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the abbreviated writing is almost like a recipe, and the colorful illustrations work very nicely as how-to guides.

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What's the story?

A brilliant piece of children's literature, economically told and illustrated by William Steig. Pete's got the blues, but his folks have the answer: Turn him into a pizza, tickle him, love him. Here are a couple of parents who know how to tap the vein of available happiness that runs through a child, down there in the malarkey and the preposterous.


Is it any good?

You leave this story beaming with pleasure, the heart gladdened and the possibilities for happiness boundless before you. Pete's parents have an unbeatable combination -- time and imagination -- that they deploy with the skill of surgeons.

The story is told simply, as if it were a prescription for good cheer. The artwork is a light wash of watercolor contained by black ink lines, but there are some lovely patterns at play in the shirts and the rug and the mother's dress. Steig has drawn the faces perfectly: Pete's look of sublime contentment as he is tossed in the air, his mother's look of shocked surprise at him being so hurled about, and his father's look of nutty purpose. If only stories like this could be distilled into an elixir that we could imbibe.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about rainy-day activities and the power of imagination to overcome boredom. Where has your imagination taken you?

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