#1159 – Pete With No Pants by Rowboat Watkins

PPBF – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Pete With No Pants
Written and Illustrated by Rowboat Watkins
Chronicle Books 4/01/2017
40 pages   Ages 3—5

Themes: Identity, Friendship, Parents
Genre: Children’s Fiction Picture Book, Humor


“What’s gray?
and round?
and is not wearing pants?
It’s PETE!
Who’s HE?

“Well. pull up a boulder,
and join Pete on his quest
to figure out the answer
to life’s oldest question.
Why do I have to wear PANTS?
No wait . . .
that’s the second oldest.
Who AM I?
Yeah . . . that’s the one.”


“Shortly after breakfast, Pete decided he was a boulder.

“ ‘Let me see . . . I’m BIG. Check.
I’m GRAY. Check.
I’m NOT wearing pants.
I’m a BOULDER.’ ”

Why I like this book (I’ve combined a couple of reasons to keep this list shorter than it otherwise would be).
I like Pete with No Pants for many reasons, including how cute Pete is, with or without pants. Pete exudes imagination and creativity, if he is a tad naïve.

Pete seeks to be free, free of life’s constraints, and free of his pants, which also represents said constraints. Young children will like Pete and understand his desire to shun his pants. What young child does not prefer a naked bum?
Pete is looking for himself, trying to find out where he fits in the world, and with whom he belongs.

I do not like adults interfering with children in children’s stories. Generally, I hate it. But Pete’s mom knows when to stay back and watch, and when to step in and help. She does neither out of order.

The squirrels are cute and add a special brand of humor to the story. As Pete tries to play with a group of squirrels, they slowly back up in the tree until they simply must RUN! The owls brand the same humor, as they who question whether Pete is a cloud.

This brings me to the asides, on most pages said by squirrels, owls, and a little cute bird. Read these aloud. Asides said by squirrels, owls, and a little bird—oh, and mom—are needed to keep the story moving forward and to add sense to the story, plus nonsense.

The cute bird seems to watch Pete and wonder what he is seeking. And then attempts to play “Knock, knock” with Pete, but he misses the bird’s efforts. Pete misses a possible friend for looking through only his own world vision and not the bird’s.
Pete’s mother wants her son to wear his jean pants. Pete does not want to wear them. A little questioning of authority is good.

The illustrations are wonderful with details you must notice—Watson did the work, we should appreciate it.

There are so many things to notice and savor in this cute, practically wordless picture book. Who is Pete and where and to whom does he belong? Well, to us now.

Finally, I love how the little bird, who has been trying to play with Pete from spread three, never gives up on Pete. And, this being the month of Mother’s Day, it is worth mentioning how mom saves the day for Pete and learns to accept him as he is—pant-less.

Second Finally: I love that the illustrations “were pieced together with this and that.”

Is there a message? Yes. Pete is true to himself and Mom, after saying goodnight, gets an inkling of Pete’s sense-of-self, but not until she watches him play does she finally understand Pete is being true to himself, while trying to make friends. Mom decides to cherish Pete as he is, without compromise or demands, and becomes Pete’s BFF until he can find one his own age. You Go Mom!
Look at yourself in a mirror and ask, “Who am I?” Then answer yourself.
Who am I for Age 4+ Activities can be found HERE.

Group Activity for ‘Who Am I?’ can be found HERE and HERE.
Self-Esteem Activities with Printables can be found HERE.

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

PETE WITH NO PANTS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2017 by Rowboat Watkins. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

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Add PETE WITH NO PANTS to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.
An Activity Kit can be found HERE.
Note: I only have illustrations of Pete with No Pants. Sorry, it is a G-Rated Blog.

Illustrations from PETE WITH NO PANTS by Rowboat Watkins copyright © 2017 by Rowboat Watkins. Used with permission from Chronicle Books.

Copyright © 2017 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Pete with No Pants
Written and Illustrated by Rowboat Watkins
Chronicle Books 4/01/2017


12 thoughts on “#1159 – Pete With No Pants by Rowboat Watkins

  1. OK, just from this review, Sue, I am IN LOVE with this book! First, how can you resist a name like “Rowboat”? 😀 Seriously, the title, the premise, the characters and these amazing illustrations EXUDE humor and preciousness. I can’t wait to read this! 😀 Looks like Chronicle has done it again. What a shocker! 😉


  2. Funny that this story offers something to learn both for parents and children. Usually, picture books are focused entirely on the kids. Yes, parents do need to remember that all children are different whether they have one child or ten. Each one will have a unique personality and it’s often best to work with their personality than against it. I love the illustration in the bedroom. The details, the colors, the lighting. All perfect. Thank you for a great review!


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