Pierre In Love
By Sara Pennypacker
Illustrated by Petra Mathers
Orchard Books
ISBN: 9780439517409
Grades 1-3
In Stores


If you flip to the back of “Pierre in Love”, you’ll find that the subject headings say a lot:

1. Love–Fiction.

2. Honesty–Fiction.

3. Fishers–Fiction.

Yes, Sara Pennypacker’s story is definitely about all of these things. However, throwing all rules and regs about subject headings out the window, I think they should have added the following:

4. Old School Mixup–Fiction.

Similar to every episode of “Three’s Company”, this story is based around a miscommunication – let me explain. Pierre (a shabby-looking fisherman rat), finds himself too “bloopy and love-swoggled” to speak to his love, a ballet dancing rabbit named Catherine. Instead, he places a new gift on her doorstep each night. When they finally come face to face one evening, an unusually dapper-looking Pierre spills his guts. But Catherine denys him, explaining that she is in love with someone else, someone much more shabby in appearance. Now who could that someone else be?

5. Rarities for a Children’s Book–Fiction.

Picture book love stories for are a tricky thing to pull off successfully. In “Pierre”, Pennypacker (of “Clementine” fame) and illustrator Petra Mathers successfully capture the feeling of being a nervous wreck when faced with unrequited love.

This title recently won an SCBWI Golden Kite award for picture book text. I can’t argue with that – the pace, description, and dialog are all succinct and vivid. After learning that Catherine is in love with someone else…

Pierre staggered. The news socked him hard, like an anchor to the chest.
“Well,” he said, struggling to smile, “I’m glad to know you are happy.”

The illustrations, done in watercolor, do a good job of mixing the two dimensional with the three. They have an unusual quality of looking simple and very detailed at the same time – a nice combo for the intended audience.

Go ahead and pick this one up. While you’re reading, I’ll be lobbying the H.W. Wilson Company to add my new subject headings to the list.

Find this book at your local library with WorldCat