Reviews for What Pete Ate from A-Z : Where We Explore the English Alphabet (In Its Entirety) in Which a Certain Dog Devours a Myraid of Items Which He Should Not


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 September 2001
Ages 6-8. Unlike Kalman's dog-of-the-world Max from Swami on Rye: Max in India (1995), Pete has a simpler ambition: he "DEVOURS . . . a MYRIAD of ITEMS which he should NOT." As revealed in an alphabetical catalog by his owner Poppy Wise, Pete usually prefers nonfood items, beginning with Cousin Rocky's accordion ("All of it") and going on to a camera, a fez, money, a pocketbook, various shoes, Uncle Rocky's underpants, and several yo-yos--anything, in fact, except "Zug Zug Dog Grub." With deliciously vibrant colors, slightly skewed perspectives, and delectable humor, Kalman mixes and matches her exuberant canine gourmand, his latest snack, and annoyed or melancholy-looking adults. Although each picture is headed by the appropriate letter in hand-drawn uppercase, lowercase, and script, this ABC is addressed less to beginning readers or writers than to dog lovers everywhere, who will agree with Poppy's rousing summation: "ZOOKS! WHATTADOG!!" ((Reviewed September 1, 2001))Copyright 2001 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2002 Spring
The unruly Kalman borrows the alphabet to structure--loosely--a catalog of outrageous items eaten by unruly dog Pete. Working his way through Cousin Rocky's accordion, narrator Poppy's doll, and even an occasional food item, Pete snacks in alphabetical order. While the letters are not used with enough consistency or visibility to help beginning sounding-outers, Kalman's young fans will happily consume the alliterative mischief. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2002 #1
The unruly Kalman borrows the alphabet to structure-loosely-a catalog of outrageous items eaten by unruly dog Pete. Working his way through Cousin Rocky's accordion, narrator Poppy's doll ("he ripped the head off my dear doll Dinky. Dreadful dog"), Mrs. Parley's pink pocketbook, and even an occasional food item, Pete indeed snacks in alphabetical order. While the letters are not employed with enough consistency or visibility to help beginning sounding-outers, Kalman's brand of wacky humor never wavers, and her young fans will happily consume the alliterative mischief. l.a. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2001 July #2
Pete is a dog of alphabetic appetites, who eats everything, from cousin Rocky's accordion to a whole lot of yo-yos. What he will not eat, however, is his "Zug Zug Dog Grub (zip, zilch, zero.) Can you blame him?" Although the work dutifully features representations of each letter in cursive script as well as both upper- and lower-case Roman letters, this is clearly not your beginning alphabet book. Some of the letters are glossed with alliterative energy-for "H": "He ate half (1/2) of my homework. But did Mrs. Hoogenschmidt believe me? HA! (Hardly.) Horrible dog."-but others are illustrated so subtly that the reader loses touch with the theme. The typography has a baroque, expansive quality in keeping with Pete's excesses, but unconventional capitalization and coloring muddy the alphabetical relationships further. The paintings carry Kalman's (Next Stop Grand Central, 1998, etc.) signature zany energy, with Pete, a blond, bearded mutt, frequently portrayed with the remains of his unconventional diet hanging out of his mouth. The practice of using the alphabet as an organizing principle for a children's book is a long and honored one, but this is an example of one of its pitfalls. While it begins with promise, it has no actual narrative and the reader loses energy by the time the 26th letter rolls around. For an equally fizzy celebration of doggy greed that manages to maintain its momentum, try this year's Swollobog, by Alistair Taylor (p. 339). (Picture book. 6-8)Copyright Kirkus 2001 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2001 July #3
Kalman (Next Stop Grand Central) unleashes her extravagant whimsy in this loquacious alphabet book, "in which a certain dog devours a myriad of items which he should not." Shaggy yellow Pete, staring benignly from the book's flame-red cover, is an omnivore. According to his astonished owner, who speaks in a torrent of interjections and parenthetical asides, Pete first dined on an "accordion. All of it." Pete's torso takes on the instrument's shape as he springs in the air. He next "ate a bouncing ball that belonged to uncle Bennie's dog Buster. (Buster is no bargain. He barks all the time, but still...)." A wan fellow stands with a frowning white bulldog at his feet, gesturing at a picture of the vanished ball; empty chairs in a composition reminiscent of Matisse augment the sense of tongue-in-cheek tragedy. Pete proceeds through the letters of the alphabet, enjoying sticky stuff ("Gooey gluey dog"), "Mrs. Parsley's pink pocketbook" and a pair of "underpants. Uggh!" A loose story line emerges as Pete eats Bennie's money ("Now Bennie has no money [none] to buy Buster a new ball...") and the Parsleys make multiple appearances. Kalman paints affectionate portraits of the unstoppable Pete, the now-missing objects and their disappointed owners, and her hand-printed text acts as an element of the illustrations. Her overblown alliteration and fabulous gouaches gush with glamour. All ages. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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