• Happy birthday Meilo So (Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats) and Barbara Robinson (The Best Christmas Pageant Ever).
  • On this day in 1939, the Nazis require Jewish Germans to wear the Star of David on their clothes. Read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.
  • It’s United Nations Day! Happy Birthday to the United Nations, founded in 1945.
  • If you are in the mood to celebrate lunch meat, it’s National Bologna Day. And that’s no baloney! Read Baloney (Henry P.) by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith.
  • On your mark, get set, fold! Join the international community of origami for the kick-off (or fold-off) of World Origami Days (October 24–November 11). Tomorrow we will discuss Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr.

Today we celebrate an event everyone can enjoy. October is National Pizza Month, a perfect time to engage in America’s favorite pastime: eating a scrumptious pie. As a nation, we consume 350 slices of pizza each second! According to a recent Gallop poll, children three to eleven prefer pizza over any other food for lunch and dinner. But before you head out to snatch up your favorite kind, pick up one of the funniest, most original books written about the subject, William Steig’s Pete’s a Pizza.

William Steig was eighty-one years old when he published this contemporary classic, which works both for independent reading and as an activity for a family or class.  Poor Pete.  He’s having a bad day. But his father knows just what to do to cheer up his son.  Dad sets Pete down on a kitchen table, starts kneading him like dough, stretches him out, and tosses him back and forth with his mother. Then Dad begins to cover him in pizza ingredients. Although he pretends to pour on oil and flour, these substances are really water and talcum powder. Checkers come out next, substituting for tomatoes, and already Pete can’t control his giggling. Kids will be laughing long before then. Eventually, Pete the Pizza runs away, gets hugged, and heads out to play with his friends, happy at last. The story, accompanied by Steig’s watercolor and ink illustrations, is perfectly paced. Even the layout of the text, set in capital letters, makes it look like a printed recipe.

Sometimes teachers use a storyboard with felt to tell this saga, and families love to act out the book with their children. At some library events the reading is concluded with the best of all possible endings: pizza for the participants. However you use Pete’s a Pizza, the results are surefire. It is as no fail as suggesting that everyone can have pizza for dinner.

The book also stands as a tribute to octogenarians. There is no rule that our greatest children’s books need to be written and conceived by young writers—the authors just need to be young in spirit. Fortunately, William Steig remained true to his childlike spirit all of his creative life. Consequently in his eighties, he knew a great book idea when he discovered it, and he executed his concept flawlessly.

Here’s a page from Pete’s a Pizza:


Originally posted October 24, 2010. Updated for .

Tags: Food, Humor
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Pete’s a Pizza


  1. leda says:

    I don’t want to celebrate lunch meat, but I do want to celebrate the launch of this terrific almanac– yay!!! I’ll be reading every day.

  2. Star says:

    Thank you, Anita! I’m so happy you launched this site. What a wonderful idea! It’ll be a great way to find info on kids’ books from a trusted expert like you! :)

  3. Danielle says:

    Thank you so much for this. This is going to be the best daily bit of goodness ever!

  4. DaNae says:

    What a great resourse. Thanks Anita.

  5. Beth says:

    I am so excited about this, Anita!

  6. Love it!
    In particular I found it fascinating to learn the age of Mr. Steig when
    he wrote this! Thank you, Lori

  7. I, too, am very excited for this new blog, Anita, and you’ve been added to my reader already! My kids LOVE this book, and it’s always a blast to read together. We’re also big fans of TONY AND THE PIZZA CHAMPIONS by Tony Gemignani, which even includes a wonderful recipe for pizza dough in the back!

  8. David Wiesner says:

    A PERFECT picture book.

  9. Anita says:

    David: From you I consider that high praise. I personally think you have executed a few perfect ones yourself.

  10. A year later, I’m still not excited about the lunch meat, but my excitement about the Almanac has grown day by day. Thank you, Anita!!! What a tremendous labor of love this is.

  11. Mrs. O says:

    Happy Birthday to one of my very favorite websites ! xoxoxox

  12. Anita says:

    Thanks everyone for you kind comments.

    As the blog goes forward, there will be a post each day. It will either be a new essay (once or twice a week) or the essay from the year before, with new material added.

    I hope everyone joins me for coffee and conversation in year two! Anita

  13. Cathy Ogren says:

    Happy Birthday! Keep on going.

  14. Vicki Palmquist says:

    What a wonderful addition to the canon of children’s literature (that’s the high-falutin’ praise). What fun to wake up each morning and have this tasty bits of book food to devour. Thanks, Anita, for the CBADA (is that pronounced like ciabatta? I’d like to think so). Best way to start the day ever!

  15. suzi w. says:

    You are the main person that gets me to read books I should have read ages ago. Case in point: when I worked at Barnes & Noble, we were always getting publicity stuff. So I have had a Pete’s a Pizza magnet on my fridge for YEARS but still have never read it. I always loved the title, though, the pizza pizza or pete’s a pete’s a.

  16. suzi w. says:

    and i love the idea of old entries with new info!!! Happy birthday!!

  17. John Schu says:

    Happy birthday to the best children’s literature resource. Thank you for taking us behind the scenes of the best children’s books. You’re a daily inspiration! -Mr. Schu

  18. Anita says:

    John, Vicki, Suzi W. Thank you for cheering me on this year. It has made all the difference.

    For those who haven’t seen the wonderful tribute the John prepared, check out


    I cried this morning when I read it.

  19. G. Perry says:

    Well, I was here, but I’m a little late. Boy am I glad you started this website today. (I mean, a year ago.)

    Boy oh boy or boy am I glad. I’m celebrating with a pizza!

    Munch, munch, munch..

  20. Anita says:

    Gordon: Pizza sounds great! Thanks for all your posts during this year.

  21. Ashley says:

    Happy birthday! Coincidentally, I had pizza for dinner last night. Guess I better check out Pete’s a Pizza to make things official!

  22. Brita says:

    Wow! When I first heard about this blog, I could not have imagined that on its first birthday, I’d be enrolled in Anita’s class. I consider myself very fortunate. I also love seeing familiar names (classmates, coworkers, and especially authors & illustrators) when browsing comments. A wonderful community.

  23. G. Perry says:

    There is something special about October to this grown boy. It’s probably a reason I love Thomas Wolfe so much.

    I love “Pete’s A Pizza.” I also love Pizza.

    I’m reading “Pete’s A Pizza” again this year. I’m eating pizza again this year to salute Steig.

    Old October. Yes.

  24. Tracy says:

    Oh! I just realized that this is your second anniversary. Congratulations! I’m still looking forward to your postings every day and to the published almanac coming soon. So many great books. Thank you, Anita.

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Daily children’s book recommendations and events from Anita Silvey.

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The new books on their way to becoming classics . . .

And events from the world of children’s books—and the world at large.