Dirtball Pete

It took reading this book by Eileen Brennan to get past the name “dirtball”; after all, who really wants that word in their child’s vocabulary? But the quirky storyline about — you guessed it — a very dirty little boy and the charming illustrations ultimately won me over. (James liked the book the moment he saw the cover; he loves naming all the different objects sticking out of Pete’s hair.) Booklist: “Strenuous efforts to clean up a soul mate of Charles Schulz’s Pigpen go messily for naught in this lighthearted suggestion that inner worth is not reliant on outer hygiene… The day he is supposed to play Pennsylvania in his school’s ’50 States and Why They’re So Great’ celebration, young Pete is taken firmly in hand by his determined mother, who scrubs him thoroughly and shepherds him personally to the show — fending off the lad’s muddy dog and stinky ferret on the way. Alas, a frantic chase after his windblown speech leaves Pete as filthy as ever, but his unwavering self-confidence is justified when his positively charismatic performance on the stage leaves the audience agreeing that ‘underneath all that dirt there was a very special boy.'” Giggle factor: high, especially when the mom discovers the ferret in Pete’s pocket. Adult enjoyment: moderate. Illustrations: five jelly jars.

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~ by kaychubbuck on February 2, 2011.

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