Book Review: What Pete Ate from A to Z

I picked up What Pete Ate from A to Z by Maira Kalman in mid-January for LittleBrother. I had to buy BigBrother the most recent Captain Underpants book in the series, and I can’t buy one book for one kid without buying one book for the other kid. I mean, I could. They probably wouldn’t be too bent out of shape. But I physically cannot do it. Must have all the books.

What Pete Ate

As you might know, we got a dog in September 2012. LittleBrother has wanted a dog for his entire life and has adored dogs for just as long. He is over the moon with our Callie and has started angling toward books about dogs in most of his recent book picks. That’s why I grabbed this book; the added bonus of it being about the alphabet as he faces Kindergarten registration in the near future wasn’t lost on me. I figured he would like the book well enough and life would be just grand.

What Pete Ate

What I didn’t expect was to love the snot out of this book. Or the dog slobber, as it were.

Seriously. This book? IS HILARIOUS.

Or, I mean, it’s probably only hilarious as our German Shepherd doesn’t eat absolutely everything in sight. If your Blue Heeler -slash- Miniature Poodle ate everything, the book might not be as hilarious. Oh, who am I kidding, the book is just downright fantastic. I’d read it every night for bedtime if I could. And twice on Sundays.

In short, Pete the Dog is a dog who, you might correctly guess, eats just about everything he comes in contact with — an accordian, an emu egg, all of the leashes at a dog show, shoes, shoes, shoes, shoes. Everything but, of course, his dog food. That made me laugh as we were struggling yet again with Callie’s dog food. He gets in all kinds of trouble in a rhythmic, lilting tone. It’s a fun book to read aloud, which is a good find as not all books that are funny are good read alouds.

I asked LittleBrother to show me which page he thought was the funniest. I already knew which page he would pick.


What Pete Ate

Yeah. Pete ate Cousin Rocky’s underpants. Uggh!

The book has lots of little hidden educational gems: teaching the words edible and inedible, geography with Morocco and Africa, and an important lesson about dog ownership.

Quick Question: Would you love a dog who ate your lucky quarter, the Q from your alphabet collection, your porcupine quill? Even if for the quadrillionth time you said, “Quit it. Don’t eat that,” and he did, would you still love that dog? Quite a lot.

Because even if your Blue Heeler -slash- Miniature Poodle eats all of the things, you’ll love your dog. Even if your German Shepherd eats the cord to your headphones or Spiderman’s foot or through another leash, you’ll love your dog. You will. You might be mad. You might yell.

And even if your dog dogbombs the photo because she wants to be in it because everything should always be about her and she’s really unimpressed with Pete because, goodness, she’s the best dog and where’s her book anyway

What Pete Ate

…you’ll still love her.


It wasn’t until I was writing this post that I realized Maira Kalman wrote another of our favorite books, Fireboat. The tone and rhythm make sense now!


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3 Replies to “Book Review: What Pete Ate from A to Z”

  1. I’ll have to look for that! Bee is struggling at the moment with the concept of how Mama can sometimes be upset with her behavior, but that doesn’t mean I love her any less. I think that might translate with Pete’s help. ;-)

    Have you guys read the Skippyjon Jones books? I know *technically* they’re cat stories and not dog stories…but don’t tell Skippyjon Jones that. Heh.

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