Jenny Gregg, children’s librarian at Central Park Library, led the 90 participants at the Feb. 6 Pete the Cat Pajama Party in song: “My buttons, my buttons, my four groovy buttons…Pop! Oh no! One of the buttons popped off and rolled across the floor. How many buttons are left?” Created by illustrator James Dean, Pete the Cat is a popular children’s book feline who shares with others and approaches life with optimism. Giving the moral of “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons,” Gregg ends the song by telling the group, “Stuff may come and stuff may go and you just keep on singing.”
“This particular program is intended for preschoolers to second graders, as Pete the Cat is wildly popular with this age group,” Gregg says. “What I wanted to do is combine a really popular children’s book character with a stuffed animal sleepover. This program has two parts to it. One part is the stuffed animal sleepover. That is where the kids are invited to bring their favorite stuffed animal to the library on Friday evening. They drop it off and say good night. At this library pajama party, they’re reunited with their stuffed animal. One of the highlights of the program is that we’ll have a slideshow and the children can see the fun and mischief their stuffed animal friends had at the library the night before. The big surprise is that Pete the Cat is coming to the party.”
During the slide show of the stuffed animal sleepover, children chuckled as they watched their stuffed bears, rabbits and dolls climb up a library shelf with rope, peek at a librarian’s computer, check out books, photocopy their bottoms on the copy machine and ride on the conveyer belt used for book returns. When the live Pete the Cat arrived, the line of people waiting to take pictures stretched across the library’s Redwood Room. Attendees also made Pete the Cat-themed hats at a crafts station and admired the walls, dotted with colorful paper plates decorated to mimic buttons.
After the party, Matteo De Zan, 6, held on tight to Winter, his big blue stuffed bunny, while commenting about how the live Pete the Cat entertainer was much bigger than he had expected.
“I liked the snacks and crafts,” he says of the party. “[In the slide show], I saw Winter sitting on the ice-cream freezer at the cafe.”
“Matteo hasn’t had a sleepover before, so we wanted his bunny Winter to experience it first,” says Carolina De Zan, Matteo De Zan’s mother.