LESSONS ON OVERCOMING HARDSHIP FROM PETE THE CAT by Linda Tang
My daughter brought home a book entitled Pete, the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, by Eric Litwin. I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable with most of the picture books out there, but this one I had missed and am grateful that my daughter didn’t.
The story begins with the main character Pete, a four-legged feline, who, when out walking, experiences a few misfortunes that alter the appearance of his white sneakers. Depending on one’s outlook, this could be considered a huge disappointment or a minor inconvenience. After each mishap, the author lets us know that Pete chooses “to keep walking along and singing his song. “
I don’t know about you, but I have to work hard at not getting rattled when events occur that I hadn’t anticipated. Through whatever means each of us resorts to when they do, be it prayer, positive thinking, a trip to the therapist’s office, yoga class or maybe an encouraging pep talk from a supportive friend, it’s probably fair to say that we do our best to stay focused and not allow setbacks to derail us from moving ahead. (It is after all, one of the bitter-sweet themes we witnessed in these Summer Games from some of the Olympic athletes in their moments of defeat.) Perseverance, ambition and dedication are traits that, those of us who are parents, most likely have topping the “characteristics-we-want-our-children-to-have” list.
Not only does the theme of moving forward take its place in Pete’s response but so does the meaning of remaining faithful to one’s character. After each event that alters Pete’s white shoes, Pete not only keeps walking along but keeps singing his song. Another wonderful lesson: despite the challenge, stay true to who you are.
So thank you, Mr. Litwin, for illustrating such important principles through this beloved fury friend. We all hear and know these truths, but sometimes we encounter seasons in our lives where our spirits are low and motivation tanks are running on empty. We question whether to push forward when stopping to have a tantrum is what feels most natural. Sometimes, we just need a Pete to remind us that in the face of interruptions, obstacles or disappointments, we need to keep walking along and singing our song. Maybe even at the top of our lungs.
You and your daughter are both going to love Pete’s newer titles- Rocking in my School Schools, and Pete the Cat and the Four Groovy Buttons. Undoubtedly many more Pete stories in the works! Enjoy them all.
Thank you, Sandy! I am so happy to know that Pete lives and grows on!
Linda, if you liked the book(s), you’ll love this. It had my SIXTH grader singing!
Thank you, David! I will for sure check that out!
Pete the Cat was introduced to my son the first day of kindegarten by his wonderful teacher. It-and the songs-were his anthem. It got him through a tough transition. Great books!
How wonderful that your son will have a positive association with Pete due to a meaningful and important time in his young life, Candice. Oh, the power of books and the therapy they can bring!
I was familiar with the first book, Pete the Cat. I am so glad I read your post. I am from Bastrop TX and lost my home in the wildfire last year. We are all MOVING FORWARD in Bastrop, and that is our District’s motto tihs year.
Thanks, I will share the book with my kiddos at school and colleagues as well.
You have my deepest sympathy on the loss of your home, Chris. Even in the most devastating circumstances such as yours, we really have but two choices, stay back or move forward, as you and your community have done. It’s amazing how a simple message found in a treasured book can serve as a reminder and encouragement to do what we have to….and we can read that message over and over, as much as we need. Your story and song are inspirational….best to you as you keep moving forward!