Try Your Best
By James Dean
Harper, $16.99, 32 pages
Many young readers are big fans of Pete the Cat. He is one cool dude who is up for trying anything. In author James Dean’s latest book Pete the Cat: Play Ball, Pete is ready to hit the baseball field! He has a mitt, a ball, a bat and a number-seven red jersey. Pete joins his team, the Rocks, who are playing a team named the Rolls! After Pete and his team warm up, it’s time to play ball. The Rocks are batting first and Pete waits his turn on the bench. He cheers for his teammate who hits the ball and gets to first base. “Batter up!” yells the umpire. It’s Pete’s turn! He swings and misses. Strike one! He swings again…too high. Strike two! Third pitch, third swing…and Pete strikes out. Is Pete sad? No! This cool cat takes everything in stride because he knows he tried his best, getting right back on the sidelines to cheer for his friend Ben.
As part of the I Can Read series of books written specifically for beginning readers, Pete the Cat: Play Ball is a “My First Shared Reading” level story. This is an ideal book to share with a child or student just starting on their journey towards gaining a lifelong appreciation of books. The author uses basic vocabulary and plenty of word repetition. The book’s illustrations are a riot. Bright, bold primary colors fill each page as two teams, made up solely of quirky cats, take the field. The book introduces and reinforces important concepts like waiting patiently for your turn, being a good sport and trying one’s best. Join Pete as he takes his position in the outfield. Will he catch the fly balls that come his way?
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin