cover image Pete's a Pizza

Pete's a Pizza

William Steig. HarperCollins Publishers, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-205157-8

Mr. Steig (The Toy Brother) introduces a game guaranteed to produce a good mood. On a rainy day, title character Pete flops down on the couch in an attitude of despair. His father notices, and ""he thinks it might cheer Pete up to be made into a pizza."" Pete allows himself to be carried into the kitchen, where he is kneaded and tossed like dough. ""Next, some oil is generously applied. (It's really water.)... And then some tomatoes. (They're really checkers.)"" Pizza-Pete bakes on the couch, (a.k.a. the pizza oven), but when it's time to cut slices (with a karate-chop gesture), ""the pizza runs away and the pizza-maker chases him."" Steig evidently has played pizza before. He substitutes talcum powder for flour and paper scraps for mozzarella; he notes that pizzas struggle when tickled. The text resembles a set of directions, with each step wryly presented as a concise sentence and plainly printed in sans serif capital letters. In keeping with his story's simplicity, Steig creates compact line drawings that are detailed with wild watercolor patterns but symmetrically placed in a spacious white background. The amiable quality of Steig's easy pizza recipe will amuse chef and entree alike. All ages. (Oct.)