Character Assassination Carousel: Pete the Cat

I’m a huge fan of books. I mean, I was pretty much a book nerd growing up. So naturally when I had my son, I was excited to share my love of books with him (plus, not gonna lie, it made me feel like a smug, overachiever parent when I read to him). But damn, those kiddie books get old fast. Some should never see the light of day.

That’s where we come in. People, before you buy any kiddie book, please check out Nicole Leigh Shaw, Tyop Aretist and her incredibly insightful Character Assassination Carousel. Bloggers get their revenge on their favorite poor-excuse-for-a-book that, of course, is their kid’s most favorite EVER. It’s like kids are deliberately trying to drive us mad. I’m taking the reigns from Erin at Woof Tweet Waah, who made me very thankful we’ve never had Chicka Chicka Boom Boom in our house.

Now it’s my turn. I can handle repetition fairly well, but this book was read one time and then promptly disappeared from the bedtime lineup. Pete the Cat is a character created by James Dean. I think it’s important to note that in the fine print, it says that this James Dean fool created the character of Pete the Cat. It doesn’t actually say that he wrote the story. It’s like he likes this turd of a book as much as I do and is trying to distance himself as much as he legally can while still maintaining the copyright.

One day while browsing the kiddie book section at Target, I happened upon a series featuring Pete the Cat. I thought, hmm, this might be fun because 1) I like animals with strong, salt-of-the-Earth names; and 2) Pete looks vacantly annoyed, which amuses me. Since I was sick of teaching my son how to be a sociopath with Curious George every night, I decided to get this little gem:

PetetheCat

It starts out innocently enough. It asks what I hope is a rhetorical question: Pete (who is dressed in a jersey and ball cap) has a ball, mitt and bat. What will Pete do today? Hmm, is he going to bust shit up? Nope, he is going to play baseball (shocker). It’s the big game, so Pete in his Rocks costume is giving the stinkeye to the White Cat in the Rolls uniform. Eff that white cat.

The team warms up (taking turns, natch) and then it’s time to play ball! The Rocks are up to bat first and Pete dutifully waits his turn. Pete’s teammate gets a hit – Pete’s up. This is where things go downhill really fast. Over the next four pages, we watch Pete strike out. Why the author felt the need to build up the suspense like that, I have no idea. Because it anti-climaxes with this:

PeteTheCatpg16

THAT was his best? He missed all three balls in a row, and he’s not the least bit sad? If I was his teammate I’d be pissed at his lack of concern. At least pretend you’re upset, a-hole. Baseball is a team sport and there are people counting on you. This isn’t effing tennis.

Well, maybe hitting isn’t Pete’s forte. Maybe he’s a defensive superstar. Oh sweet, fly ball right to Pete…

PetetheCatpg2021

He stuck his mitt in the air. He didn’t even bother to try and close the mitt – you know, the important part of catching. At least he learned from his mistake – the very next hit he catches! But he throws it too far. WTF, bro. Do you even play baseball?

The rest of the team must have compensated for Pete’s lack of skill, because the Rocks are at bat. They’re probably thinking, Crap, Pete’s up again. But don’t worry – Pete wants to hit the ball. Guess he just didn’t feel like getting a hit last time? Inexplicably, Pete becomes an expert pitch reader during this at-bat. He sees that all the pitches are either too high or too low, doesn’t swing and walks to first, which “is cool too.” Yeah it’s cool – you didn’t have to do a damn thing. I’m guessing the other team had their 3rd baseman play pitcher this time so they didn’t embarrass Pete so much. How else do you explain how Pete wildly swings and misses every pitch the first time, yet this time is cool as a cucumber and doesn’t even flinch at the outside pitches?

But don’t worry, Pete’s moment of glory is short-lived. The next batter gets a hit and Pete, determined to score, gets tagged out at home. Um, he tried to run from first to home. That’s pretty hard to do without the ball being hit out of the park. Pete obvs wasn’t listening to his base coach:

Base coach: Pete! Stop at 2nd! STOP AT 2ND! Dammit, he just doesn’t – PETE FOR THE LOVE OF TACOS STOP AT 3RD, THE CATCHER ALREADY HAS THE…crap.
Pete: I’m not sad. I did my best.
Base coach: *breaks own nose with face palm

And with that epic fail, the game is over. Somehow, in spite of the fact that Pete the Cat played for them, the Rocks won 6-3. Pete yells “Way to go!” while his teammates mutter “Thanks for nothing, jackhole.” Everyone says good game, Pete reiterates that he did his best and everyone dolefully poses for a team photo:

PetetheCatlastpage

The team looks defeated because they are sick of compensating for Pete’s ineptitude. Pete just always looks like no one’s home upstairs.

I get that the point of the book is to do your best. But come on. If you’re not at least a little concerned about completely effing up everything you are involved in, what does that teach kids? I can see these future scenarios playing out:

Future Dr. Colt: I know I left a towel in your chest cavity, but I did my best so I’m not sad.
Patient: Here’s my lawsuit.

Future Engineer Colt: I left a key piece of that bridge out, but I did my best so I’m not sad.
Police: We’d like to ask you a few questions, sir.

Future Father Colt: Hey honey, I burned the house down while cooking dinner. I did my best, though, so I’m not sad.
Spouse: I want a divorce.

You see? Pete the Cat is effing up my child’s future by teaching him that all you have to do is try. Consequences, schmonsequences. Don’t worry about working hard, practicing, improving, learning, adapting – that shit’s overrated. Just use Pete the Cat’s Patented Method to Succeed in the World: Try your best, and when that doesn’t work, skate on the accomplishments of others.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next assassin, Jennifer at Beyond the Crib. Your sanity depends on it!

All photos in this post come from Pete the Cat Play Ball! All rights reserved by original creator. This book can be found in most local bookstores and online (unfortunately).

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2 responses to “Character Assassination Carousel: Pete the Cat

  1. My kid is currently into Pete, but we don’t have this book. I guess Pete’s laid back, super cool attitude didn’t translate well to sports. His others are good– teaching kids not to freak if they get dirty, lose stuff or go to a new school. Learning that it’s cool to stink at team sports is probably good for some poor couch potato kid.

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