Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach is a delightful escape for many of us caught in this particularly horrible winter. My preschooler was drawn to a new book in a favorite series, and I was drawn to anything involving sun, sand, and some faint memory of what life is like when not buried under snow.
Fans of James Dean’s Pete already know he’s a charming and funky lil cat. Readers of this book will learn that he’s a bit of a ‘fraidy cat, as well. Pete and his family are hanging out at the beach. Big brother Bob is out catching waves and asks Pete repeatedly to join him, but Pete finds many ways to avoid going in the water. He’s already done everything he can think of on the shore. Bob keeps inviting him to come out. His mother keeps encouraging him to play in the water. But Pete says at every mention, “Maybe later.” While he never outright says that he’s afraid of the ocean, even young readers figure out what’s going on. Pete eventually and gradually gets more comfortable in the water, and he ends up having a blast surfing with Bob.
Pete at the Beach is not the involved, longer story you will find in most other Pete the Cat books. It’s part of the I Can Read! collection of stories, so the text is meant to be read with or by a beginning reader. But even though it’s not as complex as other Pete books, it’s still got our familiar feline protagonist to keep new readers invested and a fun rhythm to keep them interested. My daughter read it cover to cover all by herself several times, and she was giggling all the way through.
If you have an emerging reader who happens to love Pete, or if you have a little one who might be a little bit nervous around water, this is an enjoyable and sweet family read.