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Cover image for Pee Wee's tale
Pee Wee's tale





Publication Information:
New York : SeaStar Books, 2000.
Physical Description:
104 pages : illustrations ; 18 cm
Series title(s):
A birthday present -- In the dark -- A new world -- Lessons from Lexi -- A picnic in the park -- Words with a warning -- I meet a group of children -- Water from above -- Water down below -- Life in the park -- Robbie.
When his owner's parents let him go in Central Park, a young guinea pig learns to survive in the natural world with the help of a "park-wise" squirrel while trying to find his way back home.
Program Information:
AR 4.7 2.0.
Added Author:


Call Number
J Hurwitz, J.

On Order



A guinea pig in Central Park? PeeWee, once a boy's dear pet, has been secretly released into the wilds of Central Park. But instead of relishing his freedom, PeeWee is at first a stranger in a strange land--until he meets Lexi, a city-wise squirrel who gives his new stubby-tailed friend some tips as well as some confidence. A series of eye-opening adventures--from the search for PeeWee's former owner to his discovery of the power of reading--turns a timid rodent into an endearing hero that will leave Hurwitz fans cheering for more.

Author Notes

Children's author, Johanna Hurwitz was born and raised in New York City. She attended Queens College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and then Columbia University for her master's in Library Science.

She worked as a librarian and taught graduate courses in children's literature and storytelling. Her first title, Busybody Nora was published in 1976 and she has been writing a book or two a year ever since. Her other titles include Dear Emma, Summer with Elisa, A Llama in the Family, Busybody Nora and the Adventures of Ali Baba Bernstein. She has written over 60 titles.

Her works have won her several state awards, including the Texas Bluebonnet Award, the Kentucky Bluegrass Award, the Garden State Children's Choice Award, and the Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-A charming chapter book for newly independent readers. Your average guinea pig would be ill-equipped for the rigors of life in New York City's Central Park, but PeeWee is far from average. He has learned to read from the newspaper scraps on the bottom of his cage. That talent alone isn't enough to protect him from the myriad perils of the park, but fortunately PeeWee also befriends a squirrel who teaches him how to watch his back. The story is loaded with simple, generally nonintrusive messages about the values of friendship, freedom, and reading. PeeWee is an appealing protagonist, intelligent and resourceful and brave when it really counts. The park's animal inhabitants always act in character for their various species as they scratch, scamper, and dig their way around their leafy urban home. Brewster's black-and-white drawings depict PeeWee and his squirrel friend as rumpled, big-eyed cuties, but PeeWee's many brushes with danger provide more than enough drama to offset the occasionally excessive sweetness of the illustrations.-Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

A guinea pig narrates Hurwitz's (One Small Dog) endearing story of the furry fellow's adventures in New York's Central Park. Nine-year-old Robbie, though disappointed when his uncle gives him a guinea pig rather than a puppy for his birthday ("I ran around inside my cage, trying to act like a puppy," says the narrator), soon grows fond of PeeWee. Not so his skittish mother who, one day while Robbie is at a sleepover, instructs her husband to set the critter loose in Central Park. PeeWee is at loose ends in this alien environment, but his new pal, Lexi the squirrel, passes on survival strategies (e.g., "Don't count your nuts until they are shelled"). PeeWee responds in kind by using his unorthodox skill: he learned to read from his mother, who lived in a cage in a schoolroom, and warns Lexi about the city's plan to cut down the tree that Lexi calls home. Through PeeWee's perspective, Hurwitz delivers some humorous and insightful observations about the urban outdoors and brings the tale to a satisfying resolution. Brewster's engaging, black-and-white spot art will draw readers into this story, and the smaller-than-average trim size complements its diminutive star. Ages 7-10. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

PeeWee is a guinea pig whose mother taught him to read from the scraps of newspaper lining his cage. His skills come in handy after his new owners dump him in Central Park and leave him to fend for himself. PeeWee is an engaging character, but it's difficult to accept that he can survive so easily outside his cage. The expressive line drawings in this small book add to the charm. From HORN BOOK Spring 2001, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

A precocious guinea pig finds himself adrift in Central Park in a tale of high adventure. Readers follow Pee-Wee’s progress as he moves from pet shop to the apartment of his new owner, Robbie. When Robbie’s mother’s abhorrence of anything rodent-like leads to Pee-Wee’s abrupt arrival in the park, the naïve foundling endures several harrowing encounters with creatures of both the two-legged and four-legged variety. With the help of his new squirrel friend Lexi, Pee-Wee soon acquires some street smarts and a taste for freedom. A remarkable ability to read—he was taught by his mother from the newspaper scraps underneath their cage—enables Pee-Wee to warn Lexi and some other squirrel families that their trees are going to be cut down, engendering for him hero status among the park animals. When he discovers Robbie at the park one day, Pee-Wee decides that, perilous though it may be, he has learned to love his freedom. Told from the guinea pig’s perspective, the animals in Hurwitz’s tale come off sounding a whole lot more reasonable than their human counterparts. She liberally infuses the story with wry humor; the fast-talking Lexi’s speech is peppered with adages that have received a squirrel twist—“A nut in the jaw is worth two in the paw”—and keeps the tale moving at a swift pace. Brewster’s appealing pencil sketches appear sporadically throughout the text, complementing the tale. Winsome drawings depicting Pee-Wee’s wide-eyed gaze and stout, fluffy little body are sure to melt even the hardest of hearts. A caveat: this tale of freedom gained may leave readers longing to emancipate their own caged darlings. (Fiction. 7-9)

Booklist Review

Gr. 2^-5. Most guinea pigs can't read, but PeeWee is different. His mother, who was born in a kindergarten, has taught him what she knows. When he's left in the park, he learns the value of his gift--and also the benefits of friendship, freedom, street savvy, and rainwater. PeeWee's squirrel friend, Lexie, saves him from dogs, and PeeWee's ability to read alerts Lexie to the impending doom of the squirrel's favorite tree. At times this chapter book has the whimsical feel of George Selden's Cricket in Times Square (1961); at other times it is didactic: "There was pleasure in reading. It was not just for me, the reader, but for everyone who heard me say the words," exclaims PeeWee, after discovering poetry. The pen-and-ink illustrations by Patience Brewster are adorable and will no doubt have many children clamoring for a guinea pig of their own. --Marta Segal