Pete with No Pants is a new picture book by Rowboat Watkins. I was intrigued by this book from the get-go. First of all, the title is enough to make anyone stop and reread it. Then you see a little elephant running around, mouth agape, with his pants flying behind him. Any child is going to find this cover funny, and if we’re being honest, so will any adult.
The book jacket and actual cover of the book are the same, but the end pages are really neat. They look like the denim that would make up Pete’s pants. This adds some interest to the aesthetic before the book even begins.
The premise of the story is that Pete is a little elephant, trying to figure out who he is. When he’s not wearing his pants, he decides he is a boulder. When he discovers he is not, in fact, a boulder, he decides he must be a squirrel. After his mom tells him to put his pants on, he concludes that he can’t be a boulder, or a cloud, or a pigeon. Then who is he?
Throughout the book, Pete tells knock-knock jokes to all of the animals and objects he thinks he might be. This adds more relatability to the book for children, who frequently love knock-knock jokes.
I absolutely loved the illustrations in this book. They are done in pencil and watercolor, but have so much life in them. The expressions on the characters faces are adorable, and the way Pete is shown asking questions and getting confused is endearing.
All of the text is in speech bubbles between Pete and the other characters, which I thought was interesting. I think it makes the book more approachable for young children, but is also lively enough for older readers. Overall, I loved this book. I thought it was cute and sweet, while also showing the common quest for discovering who you are.
Posted by Megan Matthews