cover image For Pete's Sake

For Pete's Sake

Ellen Stoll Walsh. Harcourt Children's Books, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-15-200324-1

The sole alligator among three flamingos, Pete knows he is green, but he wants to be pink because ""everyone else is."" In one of this brief yet insightful tale's typically witty passages, his flamingo pals reassure him: ""Don't worry.... You probably aren't ripe yet. It takes longer for some."" Pete's cronies continue to comfort him when he disgruntledly observes that he has four rather than two feet (""You're lucky, Pete.... Two, and two extra"") and that he doesn't have any feathers (""The best feathers take the longest to grow""). Finally he meets three fellow alligators or, as the text says, ""flamingos who looked just like Pete""--and he proudly announces to his pink pals, ""I'm different but the same."" To which they respond, ""Well for Pete's sake, Pete.... You always have been."" Disappointingly, Walsh's (Jack's Tale) minimalist cut-paper collage art varies little in some sequences. Yet the narrative's inarguably sound messages, among them the superficiality of appearance and the importance of being a supportive friend, coupled with the lightness of the delivery, virtually guarantee that this read-aloud will spark worthwhile discussion. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)