Children's Lit Book Reviews

Thursday, February 11, 2010


By: Ezra Jack Keats
Publisher: Puffin
Copyright: 1969
Pages: 40
Reading Level: 4-8
Genre: Picture Book
Award: Caldecott Honor Book

"Everyone wants the goggles Peter found in this fast-paced Caldecott Honor winner."
-Publishers Weekly

Summary: A pair of motorcycle glasses are found by a young boy named Peter and his friend Archie. Together they decide to hurry over the Archie's house so they can wear the goggles and sit on the stairs outside of his home. As they start home they accidentally stumble in two a group of "big boys" who demand that Peter hand the motorcycle glasses over to them. After Peter tells them no, he hands over Willie, his dog, to Archie, places the goggles in his back pocket, and puts his fists in the air, ready to fight. Suddenly, Peter looks back to check on Archie, and he finds himself down on the ground with the goggles on the sidewalk. As everyone stares at the goggles, Willie snatches them and runs through a hole in the fence. With the boys running after the dog, the two little boys split up and decide to meet back at their secret hiding spot. Eventually, both Archie and Peter make it safely back to their hiding spot, but still Willie is nowhere to be seen. Archie then peers through a pipe and notices the "big boys" slowly approaching Willie who is still holding the goggles. Yelling through the pipe for the dog to come to him, the "big boys" see Archie and Peter and start to walk toward them. On a whim, Archie decides to yell through the pipe to distract the "big boys." Immediately, they take off running for home. Finally, they make it safely back to Archie's house where they laugh about the whole situation and they still were able to keep the goggles.
Who would benefit from reading this book?: This is a great story. It's an easy read making it enjoyable for readers of all ages.
What problems/conflicts could this book potentially cause?: While it is a good book to read there is one problem that I see this book could cause. There is an instance where Peter goes to fight the "big boys." Some might say that this book supports fighting and would discourage other from reading it because of that. But, to me, the book supports defending one's property when others are seeking to damage it or take it away.
My reaction: I liked the book and enjoyed reading it. The illustrations are unique in that the "big boys" seem to be dark shadows while the author illustrates the two main characters quite well. Last summer I spent some time in New York City, and I wonder if Keats was describing what it might have been like for younger boys growing up during that period of time in what was known as America's toughest ghetto.
posted by Jon Dale at 11:22 AM


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