My writing friend Julie Rowan-Zoch has an excellent series of recent posts on William Steig's books in honor of his birthday (he lived November 14, 1907 – October 3, 2003). He is one of the few authors whose entire body of work is a candidate for perfect picture books. Dr. DeSoto is a classic that ends up on many favorite picture book lists. But my favorite Steig book is a less fantastical story. And when I saw that it wasn't on the perfect picture book Friday list, I knew what my choice should be today.
Remembering William Steig on his birthday-try saying this title out loud without smiling:
TITLE: Pete's a Pizza
Publisher: HarperCollins, 1998
Intended Age: 3-7
Themes: Imagination, Play, Family
Opening lines: PETE'S IN A BAD MOOD. JUST WHEN HE'S SUPPOSED TO PLAY BALL WITH THE GUYS, IT DECIDES TO RAIN.
Synopsis: When rain interrupts a boy's plan to play with his friends outside, his father plays a game with him, pretending that the boy (Pete) is a pizza.
What I like about this book: This William Steig classic was published when he was 91. 9-1. Just Wow. And look at that big pizza-shaped face on the cover! Delicious. Parents are often absent in picture books. This book goes one step further with Pete's father taking the lead to help Pete shake off his gloomy mood. But it absolutely works. The father isn't didactic or heavy-handed. He has the child-like sense of creativity to carry the story. I love the tactile nature of their play. The illustrations focus on three characters (Pete, Dad and Mom) with subtle variations in changing graphic backgrounds. This is a book to be read and re-read.
Resources: You can see the story read aloud here:
There is also a cartoon animation of the story on YouTube, but for me, the artificial laugh track of the character didn't fit the vision in my head and I found it distracting. But if you want to see it, go here:: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_ZlxRSHwJo
TeachingBooks.net has two lesson plans available.
Visit this Pinterest board for ideas linked to pizza. I can imagine any lesson dealing with words, colors or shapes is more fun when you make them into pizza toppings! October was National Pizza month, but I think pizza is year-round fun.
This review is part of PPBF (perfect
picture book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. Along
with tons of writing wisdom, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect
Picture Books. #PPBF
Thanks for stopping by!Did you get snow last night?? We did. Perfect curling up with a book weather.
Steig made such a huge contribution to children's literature. And to imagine he wrote until he was 91, probably with great joy. The kid still longed to tell just one more story. A blessing to so many. This is a great share today. Love the cover and the story. Steig reminds me of my husband's famous uncle who composed music until he was 91-92, and loved doing so.ReplyDelete
I have an author-crush on him. He can be "deep" and playful in turn.Delete
So glad to have played a little part in your bringing this one to PPBF! I love when he says he can't say anything, because he's just 'dough and stuff'! Great party game idea too, eh?ReplyDelete
You played a big part! It's because of you I dug out this old favorite. Dr. DeSoto is great, but Pete deserves the love, too.Delete
What fun to have enjoyed Julie's Steigfest and then find this as your PPBF pick! I've not actually read this one though I've heard of it, so will look for it now.ReplyDelete
What you and Pat said above reminds me of the father of a friend of mine. He was the famous Elliot Carter who was composing and conducting well past his 100th year! Simply amazing, these creative types.
Here's to years of writing, Teresa! Cue music: We've only just begun . . .Delete
Love all the Steig tributes on his bday! This was one of my kids' favorites. A classic - like a pepperoni and cheese!ReplyDelete
Kids can spot the good ones. Now I'm thinking pizza for dinner . . .Delete
That sounds really wacky Wendy. It would be cool if all dads were like that.ReplyDelete
A good reminder of ways to defuse bad humor--more bad humor generally isn't it!Delete
I've seen this one but haven't read it! Thanks for the feature!ReplyDelete
Definitely pick it up next time you see it, Andrea! It's a great one.Delete
I've not read this one. Sounds like a fun one... we might replace rain for snow. We'll look for it. Inspiring he was 91 when this was published. Lots of work ahead.ReplyDelete
I would prefer rain--and we're supposed to get some tomorrow! So I'll keep quiet and enjoy it.Delete