The Problem with Pierre

The Problem with Pierre
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
June 08, 2021
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The differences between Bertram and his neighbor Alan were never a problem until a fussy cat entered the equation!

Alan and Betram are next-door neighbors. They are also best friends. They are also very, very different to one another. Bertram is extremely neat, and Alan is wildly messy. When Bertram gets a cat, called Pierre, he is dismayed to find that Pierre prefers it at Alan’s house.

Alan tries to help his friend out – giving him his old sheepskin coat, his chipped bowl and finally, his beat up old sofa. At last, Pierre and Bertram are happy, but Alan is not – he has no company and no sofa. Fortunately, Bertram comes up with a brilliant solution to the problem…

The Problem With Pierre plays with the format of the book, returning to split spreads in which Bertram's neat-as-a-pin living room is on the left and Alan's homely chaos is on the right. When, at the end, Bertram knocks through the wall between the two houses, and puts the sofa in the middle, there is a coming together of content and format that is sure to delight readers young and old.

Editor review

1 review
sweet read about friendship
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
THE PROBLEM WITH PIERRE is a sweet picture book about a picky cat, good friends, and problem-solving. Bertram and Alan are next door neighbors and good friends. Bertram is very neat, while Alan is messy. Bertram feels like something is missing, so he decides to get a cat, Pierre. Pierre seems just right for Bertram, but he doesn't like the fancy bowl of food, the fancy bed he bought, or snuggling up on his fancy couch. What Pierre does like is sneaking into Alan's apartment to sleep on his sheepskin coat, eat his leftovers, and curl up with him on the comfy old couch. Ultimately, Alan offers those things to Bertram to help make him happy, but what ends up making them both happy is sharing their house by breaking down the wall between them.

What I loved: This is a simple and sweet story of friendship- and a particularly picky cat. Alan is a very giving friend (giving his coat, bowl, and sofa) to help make Bertram happy, and this sharing and helping your friends to achieve their goals sends a positive message. Ultimately, the story of how they help each other and work together to create a good home is very sweet.

The length of the story is great and works for toddlers through early elementary school readers. The illustrations are detailed and colorful, really capturing each character's personality.

What left me wanting more: As a small point, the messiness of Alan may be a little overdone at first with messiness and dirtiness somewhat compounded. There is also a lot of focus on watching television and its importance to their lives, and I would personally prefer to see something like reading or other activities, but this is a really small thing.

Final verdict: With detailed illustrations, lots of generosity, and good friends, THE PROBLEM WITH PIERRE is a sweet story about a picky cat and the people who love him.
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