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Pete's a Pizza
Pete's a Pizza
by William Steig
Illustration by William Steig

Pete's father starts kneading the dough. Next, some oil is generously applied (it's really water). And then some tomatoes (they're really checkers). When the dough gets tickled, it laughs like crazy.

Age: 3 Year-olds | Title: Pete's a Pizza  |  Author: William Steig  |  Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Pete's father starts kneading the dough. Next, some oil is generously applied (it's really water). And then some tomatoes (they're really checkers). When the dough gets tickled, it laughs like crazy.

This Bookseller's Choice Award winner is a wonderfully original childre's book about a young boy who pretends to be a pizza while he's waiting for the rain outside to stop so he can play ball. The simple drawings provide detail through watercolor and patterns assigned to everything from squares on the furniture and floor, to stripes, circles, and plaid on the clothing. The story reads like a recipe for 'how to make a pizza' - out of a youngster! Sounds scary, but it's actually quite fun. The narrator describes each step - the dough (aka, Pete) is kneaded, pulled, and tossed in the air - and then each ingredient is named as Pete's dad adds it; oil, flour, pepperoni, and cheese. The fun is that your little one gets to be in on the secret that the oil is really only water, the flour is just talcum power, the pepperonis are red checkers, and the cheese is scraps of paper. It is not often a little one gets to be in on a joke, so this will be fun!

The pizza recipe obviously requires imagination, and even though they know it is not real, your child will be able to almost smell and taste each ingredient as it's added. They may giggle with Pete each time he accidently giggled while pretending to be a pizza because of something his mom says, or because he is tickled. They may even find it funny that after the game is over, Pete is still referred to as a pizza by the narrator; "And so the pizza decides to go look for his friends." You can easily make this book interactive by playing the same game with your little one after reading; black checkers could be olives, bubble wrap could be cheese, and legos could be different colored peppers!

I had so much fun reading this book to my three-year-old friend Sam! He giggled the whole time as I mimicked Pete's dad and rolled Sam around to 'knead' him, lightly stretched his arms and legs, and tossed him up in the air. I don't know that he even understood that that is how pizza dough is made, but he sure had a lot of fun!

--Audra

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