One of my favourite things about being a teacher is all of the great children’s literature I get to read. I love reading out loud to my students and especially enjoy seeing them fall in love with a book that I love too. I have a pile of best-loved books for each grade level I have taught (everything from preschool to Grade 5) and love discovering new titles.
Many books are best for certain age groups, but once in a while a book comes along that seems to have wide-range appeal, a book that is enjoyed by children of all ages, and speaks to them all in different ways (including the adults!)
Pete the Cat is one of those books. It is a simple story, but with lots of fun repetition, engaging illustrations and a great message.
Pete the Cat has a pair of brand new white shoes. He loves them so much that he walks around singing a song about them. But as he is walking he accidentally steps into some bright red strawberries. His brand new white shoes aren’t white anymore, they’re red! But does Pete cry? Not him! He just accepts the change and makes a new song. “I love my red shoes……”
Young kids will just enjoy the musicality of the book – especially if you also listen to the author telling the story himself! But for my seven and eight-year olds it was also a great lesson in having a positive attitude in the face of small challenges and disappointments (like not getting the tidy-up job they wanted, or the colour paper they were hoping for, or having to switch to outdoor shoes yet again) This book was read over and over (and over!) again in my classroom and it is not uncommon to hear my students walking down the hall or cleaning the classroom singing their song…..”I love to sweep the floor….” or “I love my outdoor shoes…..”
As an adult it reminds me that although I cannot control what challenges and disappointments will come my way during the course of a day, I can control how I react to them. I want to choose to just keep on going while singing my song a lot more often. It’s a much happier way to live.
Don’t you love it when you are teaching something to others, and you learn the lesson too?