Reviews for Peewee's Tale
Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 October 2000
Gr. 2^-5. Most guinea pigs can't read, but PeeWee is different. His mother, who was born in a kindergarten, has taught him what she knows. When he's left in the park, he learns the value of his gift--and also the benefits of friendship, freedom, street savvy, and rainwater. PeeWee's squirrel friend, Lexie, saves him from dogs, and PeeWee's ability to read alerts Lexie to the impending doom of the squirrel's favorite tree. At times this chapter book has the whimsical feel of George Selden's Cricket in Times Square (1961); at other times it is didactic: "There was pleasure in reading. It was not just for me, the reader, but for everyone who heard me say the words," exclaims PeeWee, after discovering poetry. The pen-and-ink illustrations by Patience Brewster are adorable and will no doubt have many children clamoring for a guinea pig of their own. --Marta Segal Copyright 2000 Booklist 2000
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2001 Spring
PeeWee is a guinea pig whose mother taught him to read from the scraps of newspaper lining his cage. His skills come in handy after his new owners dump him in Central Park and leave him to fend for himself. PeeWee is an engaging character, but it's difficult to accept that he can survive so easily outside his cage. The expressive line drawings in this small book add to the charm. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Guide Reviews
Kirkus Reviews 2000 October #1
A precocious guinea pig finds himself adrift in Central Park in a tale of high adventure. Readers follow Pee-Wee's progress as he moves from pet shop to the apartment of his new owner, Robbie. When Robbie's mother's abhorrence of anything rodent-like leads to Pee-Wee's abrupt arrival in the park, the naïve foundling endures several harrowing encounters with creatures of both the two-legged and four-legged variety. With the help of his new squirrel friend Lexi, Pee-Wee soon acquires some street smarts anda taste for freedom. A remarkable ability to read--he was taught by his mother from the newspaper scraps underneath their cage--enables Pee-Wee to warn Lexi and some other squirrel families that their trees are going to be cut down, engendering for him hero status among the park animals. When he discovers Robbie at the park one day, Pee-Wee decides that, perilous though it may be, he has learned to love his freedom. Told from the guinea pig's perspective, the animals in Hurwitz's tale come off sounding a whole lot more reasonable than their human counterparts. She liberally infuses the story with wry humor; the fast-talking Lexi's speech is peppered with adages that have received a squirrel twist--"A nut in the jaw is worth two in the paw"--and keeps the tale moving at a swift pace. Brewster's appealing pencil sketches appear sporadically throughout the text, complementing the tale. Winsome drawings depicting Pee-Wee's wide-eyed gaze and stout, fluffy little body are sure to melt even the hardest of hearts. A caveat: this tale of freedom gained may leave readers longing to emancipate their own caged darlings. (Fiction. 7-9) Copyright 2000 Kirkus Reviews
Library Talk Reviews 2000 November
Pee-Wee is no ordinary guinea pig; he was taught to read by his mother, who learned the skill as a classroom pet. Nine-year-old Robbie would rather have received a dog for a birthday gift, but soon learns to care for Pee-Wee. But not Robbie's mom¾she views Pee-Wee as a rodent and has Pee-Wee released in Central Park while Robbie is at a sleepover. Pee-Wee's adventures in the wild are shared with a street-smart squirrel named Lexi. The two combine their special talents to solve a threat to the animals' security and learn some life lessons, such as "A good head is worth two tails" and "Don't cry over a rotten nut." This easy-to-read title will be a hit with beginning chapter book readers, who will love identifying objects that mystify Pee-Wee in his first-person narration. Older readers will relish the clever story that includes twists on common idioms. All will enjoy the small format, the large text with plenty of white space, and the delightful line drawings sprinkled throughout the tory. Recommended. Mary Burkey, Media Specialist, Grandview Heights, Ohio City Schools © 2000 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2000 October #1
A guinea pig narrates Hurwitz's (One Small Dog) endearing story of the furry fellow's adventures in New York's Central Park. Nine-year-old Robbie, though disappointed when his uncle gives him a guinea pig rather than a puppy for his birthday ("I ran around inside my cage, trying to act like a puppy," says the narrator), soon grows fond of PeeWee. Not so his skittish mother who, one day while Robbie is at a sleepover, instructs her husband to set the critter loose in Central Park. PeeWee is at loose ends in this alien environment, but his new pal, Lexi the squirrel, passes on survival strategies (e.g., "Don't count your nuts until they are shelled"). PeeWee responds in kind by using his unorthodox skill: he learned to read from his mother, who lived in a cage in a schoolroom, and warns Lexi about the city's plan to cut down the tree that Lexi calls home. Through PeeWee's perspective, Hurwitz delivers some humorous and insightful observations about the urban outdoors and brings the tale to a satisfying resolution. Brewster's engaging, black-and-white spot art will draw readers into this story, and the smaller-than-average trim size complements its diminutive star. Ages 7-10. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2000 October
Gr 2-4-A charming chapter book for newly independent readers. Your average guinea pig would be ill-equipped for the rigors of life in New York City's Central Park, but PeeWee is far from average. He has learned to read from the newspaper scraps on the bottom of his cage. That talent alone isn't enough to protect him from the myriad perils of the park, but fortunately PeeWee also befriends a squirrel who teaches him how to watch his back. The story is loaded with simple, generally nonintrusive messages about the values of friendship, freedom, and reading. PeeWee is an appealing protagonist, intelligent and resourceful and brave when it really counts. The park's animal inhabitants always act in character for their various species as they scratch, scamper, and dig their way around their leafy urban home. Brewster's black-and-white drawings depict PeeWee and his squirrel friend as rumpled, big-eyed cuties, but PeeWee's many brushes with danger provide more than enough drama to offset the occasionally excessive sweetness of the illustrations.-Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.