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.