Pete the Cat A Groovy New Year

Ages: 6 - 10Producer: Amazon Studios

Pete the Cat: A Groovy New Year is an animated program best suited to little Hipsters-in-Training. Based on the popular book series of the same name, Pete, a cool cat of few words, looks to the people around him for help with his problems, taking occasional breaks to roll around town on a skateboard or strum a few tunes on his guitar.

In this half-hour special, Pete is charged with coming up with a New Year’s resolution, except young Pete doesn’t know what that is. Pete seeks help from his friends, a grumpy toad, a French-Canadian pug dog named Emma, a singing kitty named Callie, and Sally the Squirrel. They offer varied explanations that leave Pete more perplexed than ever by what, in general, a resolution is, and what, specifically, his should be. As his family’s New Year’s Eve party draws near, and Pete’s anxiety increases, his mom comes through with a simple explanation and a comforting song. It takes the joy and hopefulness of the party-goers counting down to Midnight to help Pete understand resolutions and to come up with one of his own.

Uber-talented and versatile singer/songwriter Elvis Costello provides the voice talent for Pete’s dad; Costello’s real-life wife Grammy-award winning jazz vocalist Diana Krall voices Pete’s mom; and musician and record producer Don Was voices Pete’s guitar teacher, Neville the hound dog, who narrates much of the episode and conveys what Pete is thinking. Pete, himself, mostly expresses his thoughts non-verbally with shrugs, nods, and facial expressions. With such a cast of luminaries from the music industry, it’s no surprise that the soundtrack is as much of a character in this production as those who speak.

The show’s pace is soothing, the animation is uncluttered, and the humor is more about coaxing smiles out of its viewers than eliciting the big, easy guffaw. The truth is, the program’s quirkiness may not appeal to every young viewer, but parents and grandparents who have grooved to Elvis Costello’s tunes and who have an appreciation for jazz, the blues, and coolness in general will appreciate the show.

Gina Catanzarite ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster’s Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.