Pete with No Pants

illus. by Rowboat Watkins. 40p. Chronicle. May 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781452144016. POP
PreS-K—Boulders don't wear pants. Squirrels don't wear pants. So why should carefree little gray elephants have to wear pants? Oh yeah, because Mom said so. This quirky tale mixes images with spare text as it follows Pete the elephant through his imaginative romps. Mom trails after him, holding his britches with her trunk. The whimsical, sketchy illustrations seem simple but have many hidden delights, such as boulders coming to life and woodland creatures peering out from behind branches. Children might enjoy finding the small bird who observes the scenes on most of the pages and occasionally makes itself known with a "coo coo!" and other recurring images of acorns, worms poking out of the ground, and owls. The illustration of Pete tucked in his bed at night surrounded by pictures of his pachyderm family and images from his daily life is especially sweet, and the expression on the face of the elephant mother as she empathizes with her son in the end is touchingly recognizable. The offbeat humor is similar to that of Those Darn Squirrels and other Adam Rubin/Daniel Salmieri books, though less text-heavy. Fans of Rudecakes will be happy to see a new book by this author/illustrator.
VERDICT A fun addition for silly storytimes and kids who love underwear jokes.

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