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Whistle for Willie (Peter #2)

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  8,335 Ratings  ·  274 Reviews
When "Whistle for Willie" was first published in 1964, The New York Times wrote "Mr. Keats's illustrations boldy, colorfully capture the child, his city world, and the shimmering heat of a summer's day."
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 4th 1964 by Viking Books for Young Readers (first published 1964)
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The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack KeatsI Like Myself! by Karen BeaumontA Chair for My Mother by Vera B. WilliamsAmazing Grace by Mary HoffmanPlease, Baby, Please by Spike Lee
African American Picture Books
9th out of 310 books — 98 voters
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack KeatsMufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John SteptoeWhistle for Willie by Ezra Jack KeatsNothando's Journey by Jill ManlyThe Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin
Multicultural Children's Lit
3rd out of 366 books — 77 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jazzmarie Vedrine
This book is comical, and everyone would enjoy the story of a young boy, named Willie, who tries and tries again to whistle. It's such a simply story and the author, Ezra Jack Keats, really depicts the mind and behavior of a 4 or 5 year old child in this story. Just like what I had done when I was Willie's age, Willie goes on to think that if he pretended to look and act like his father, then whistling would come naturally. He tried to whistle while wearing his dad's hat,and that didn't happen. ...more
Olivia Lavelle
Jan 30, 2012 Olivia Lavelle rated it really liked it
Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats is another nice book. The pictures really enhanced the overall story. Before reading this book I looked at the title and thought this book was going to be about a young boy who lost his dog. As I opened the book to the title page there was the dog alone walking the street. So those factors made me realize "Oh the dog is roaming around while his owner Willie is trying to whistle the dog home." Well I was completely wrong, Willie actually wanted to learn how ...more
Ken Moten
Mar 11, 2015 Ken Moten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second in his saga on "Peter," Ezra Jack Keats' sequel to The Snowy Day finds his protagonist a little older, but still as appealing as before. Peter is trying to learn how to whistle so that he can call his dog to him, the titular Willie. In picking this book back up in the library, I reminisce about my own dog that passed away a few weeks ago and remember how I felt first owning a dog. Of course, when I originally read this I did not own a dog at all.

One of the things to observe here is t
Jan 25, 2013 Taryn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s, storybook
I adore Ezra Jack Keats. I love his illustration style (collage), I think his sense of composition is flawless, and the stories are great--they're stories without being preachy about something. They're stories about being a kid, from a kid's point of view. They show without telling. I love them. And this one is sweet. About the persistence that children can have about certain things.
Winter Sophia Rose
Jan 08, 2016 Winter Sophia Rose rated it it was amazing
Beautiful Illustrations, Engaging & Sweet! We Loved It!
Comfort Olajide
I read this book and it is about the little boy, Peter would like to whistle to call his dog Willie but try very hard but couldn't figure out how to do it. Peter sees other children whistling for their dogs. He tried to whistle in varities of ways between spinning, hiding in boxes, coloring with chalks, pretending to be his father, walking the cracks in the side walks but failed. After many attempts he finally whistle for his dog Willie. Peter was so happy to whistle. He showed his parents he ...more
Jun 26, 2008 Connie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice book about a little (black) boy who wants to learn to whistle, and, predictably, eventually does.

It's always nice to have picture books that feature black kids that take place in the US and that don't make "being black" the focus of the story, or else talk all about some "issue". The truth is that there aren't enough books that fit that criteria, and sometimes I think it's nice for my nieces to be able to see books about kids who act and look like them, y'know? So we've got a lot of books b
Renee M
Oct 27, 2015 Renee M rated it it was amazing
There's something just magical about the books created by Ezra Jack Keats. The text is simple, but with a genius for simplicity. Not a word is out of place. It draws you in and sets a tone that validates the experiences of childhood, so children connect to the character and feel their own experiences have validity.

Plus, the illustrations are divine. Packed with color and pattern. (I love the way the chalk with which Peter draws scrawls across several pages.) I also love that Peter grows up in t
Have you ever really, really wanted to do something? How did you feel when you were finally able to do it?
Encouragement. Don't be hard on yourself if at first you are unable to meet your goals. Try, try again!
For a student who is struggling with a goal. Development, somethings take time. did you start talking as soon as you were born? does your little brother/sister drive the car? can you ride a bike? some things take time and that's ok! When Peter was finally able to whistle he felt... what do
Lori Nii-amassah
Feb 12, 2012 Lori Nii-amassah rated it really liked it
Shelves: animals, ga-pre-k
The storyline of “Whistle For Willie” is delightful. It shows persistence and that one should not give up when they can’t do something right away. Children would easily follow along. The colorful illustrations are equally enjoyable.

To extend this book you could take the children out for a nature walk and ask them to explore the ground for a long, thick piece of grass. After finding one, show them how to use it in their hands to make a whistle sound.
Jan 25, 2012 babyhippoface rated it really liked it
Peter wants so badly to be able to whistle for his dog, Willie, like the boy he watches on the street, but he just can't do it. He keeps practicing, though, and one day...he does it! He whistles! What child can't identify with Peter's desire to whistle?

Ezra Jack Keats is an American icon of children's literature, and Whistle for Willie is a classic.
Dec 22, 2012 Miriam rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
A little boy wishes he could whistle, and after many attempts is eventually able to. His dog and parents are suitably impressed.

This simple story will probably resonate most with smaller children who are sometimes frustrated by the process of acquiring the skills of older siblings or friends.
This book is a classic for a reason. Deceptively simple text and pictures perfectly and delightfully represent the way a young child's (Peter, from SNOWY DAY) mind works.
Sarah Sammis
May 22, 2015 Sarah Sammis rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Sarah by: My daughter
Oct 06, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing
I adore the illustrations of Ezra Jack Keats --
Oct 16, 2016 Cam rated it it was amazing
Another cute picture book that gives representation for children of color. And a nice change in which the mother and father do not have exactly the same skin tone. Showing children that not all people of color should be seen as "looking alike." Particularly impressive for a book written in the 1960's

Encourages concepts like:

- Never giving up
- Imagination
- Playing pretend
- Positive parenting

Sep 23, 2016 Sheena rated it really liked it
This book is a great one that allows children to see and understand that once you put your mind to something you can achieve anything. This is especially true for children who are minorities because this book is about an African American boy who never gave up on achieving something that was important to him. This book would work well for grade levels 3-5, particularly for teaching writing instructions. I would use this book as a prompt for the class. The prompt could be "Write about something ...more
Chelsie Dang
Sep 19, 2016 Chelsie Dang rated it really liked it
In a children's literary world dominated by white boys and their dogs, it was nice to read about a black boy and his dog. This story is more about the boy, Peter, learning to whistle so that he could trick his dog, but still. This book came out in 1964, when most depictions of black people in the media were negative and extremely stereotypical. This book would have been monumental at the time, since it depicted Peter, a black boy, as a regular kid trying to play with his dog. One of the ...more
Sep 27, 2016 Kay rated it did not like it
this is just rambling?
Sep 21, 2016 Scott rated it really liked it
This is a lovely book from a familiar artist and author. One may have already read The Snowy Day... The beautiful illustrations in this book, as with that one, are a nearly perfect evocation of the simple pleasures of being a child: playing outside, walking one's dog and returning to a loving family.
Feb 01, 2016 Cristina rated it really liked it
a. Summary: A little boy named Peter had a dog named Willie and he wished he new how to whistle for his dog. He was determined to learn after another boy whistle and his dog and Willie ran straight to him with excitement. Peter wanted to surprise Willie by hiding in a carton and whistle at him, but he failed. Peter went home and pretended to be older like his father with his father’s hat on, he tried and tried yet still no whistle. He ran back outside playing with his own shadow and saw Willie ...more
Nicole G.
Sep 04, 2016 Nicole G. rated it really liked it
Culture or group portrayed: African-Americans

All Peter wants to do is whistle for his dog, Willie. But he just can’t seem to do it! Will acting like a grown-up make him learn it faster? Sadly, no. Peter does not give up, though, and his perseverance pays off – he can finally whistle. Willie hears it and Peter is so happy, he must go home and show off to Mom and Dad. They are so proud of him and send him to the grocery store, and Peter goes, whistling all the way.

Cultural/Multicultural e
Courtney Dyer
Whistle for Willie is another timeless classic from award winning author Ezra Jack Keats. It is a delight of a story about a boy’s persistence in learning to whistle, starring his beloved main character Peter and his dog Willie.

Peter really wished he could whistle. He tried and tried, but nothing came out. After many failed attempts, he turns his attention to other things- spinning around and around, drawing a line with chalk on the sidewalk, and even dressing up in Daddy’s hat. Peter then decid
Sep 15, 2016 Eric rated it really liked it
Worthy of plenty of re-reads to children. I really like the illustrations.
Mar 07, 2013 shay rated it really liked it
Shelves: dog
Whistle for Willie by Ezra Keats is a good book about being determine to learn a task. I enjoyed this book it was encouraging to read. Peter was determined to learn how to whistle no matter what. He tried and tried but couldn't whistle for his dog Willie.He got himself dizzy by turning around and around still couldn't whistle. he saw Willie coming so he hid in a box and blew and blew but nothing came out.So he went home and drew a line all the way to his door and he walk up to it and tried to ...more
Diana Garcia
Feb 14, 2014 Diana Garcia rated it really liked it
I loved how the little boy was very persistant in doing a new task. A lot of the times children get frustrated when they can't do something. It's a struggle for them as they always compare to what others can do that they can't. I like how there were plenty of ways he tried to attain the task but yet all it really took was practice. There was a part of the story when Peter tried to even be his father so he could whistle. That shows we can't just try to act like people in order to do something but ...more
Kynshasa Mcdaniel
Keats books are a short read. This particular book of his can be used to engage children in trying to whistle. Throughout his books about Peter I often wonder who is supervising this little boy

Ezra Jack Keats was born Jacob Ezra Katz in Brooklyn, New York on March 11, 1916. He was a mural painter for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) for three years before taking a job as a comic book illustrator. During World War II, he joined the United States Air Corp and was a camouflage pattern design
Aleasha Atoruk
Feb 01, 2016 Aleasha Atoruk rated it really liked it
Whistle for Willie is a book about a colored boy (named Peter) that wished he could whistle, because he saw a boy whistle at his dog when they were playing and the dog would run straight to him after he whistled. Peter tried relentlessly to whistle, even after his cheeks got tired. He tried to do things to make him seem more mature, along with playing outside and doing activities, all while trying to whistle. Even though it's taking a lot of practice, he does not give up. All he wants to do is ...more
Nell Adams
Jul 16, 2015 Nell Adams rated it it was ok
This book has a great story line but the illustrations were not very good. It is about a boy named Peter who wants to whistle so bad but no matter how hard he tries, he just can't. He sees another little boy playing with his talk and every time he whistles his dog runs to him and this made Peter upset that he could not do this. When finally he was out on a walk hiding from his dog and he tried so hard to whistle, and finally a whistle came out! He was so happy and when his dog found him, he ran ...more
Mar 10, 2016 Erin rated it really liked it
This book was clearly focused on the African American family that the story was about, but it also played on friendships that were between races. I think this book is beautifully illustrated and a great piece of work. The concept is something that many young children probably think about from time to time, and as someone who cannot whistle I can relate to Willie's issue. The picture with the two girls jumping rope really ties together the friendships that young children have that do not care to ...more
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Class Review 1 2 Sep 21, 2015 08:34AM  
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Long before multicultural characters and themes were fashionable, Ezra Jack Keats crossed social boundaries by being the first American picture-book maker to give the black child a central place in children’s literature.

In the books that Keats wrote and illustrated, he used his special artistic techniques to portray his subjects in a unique manner. One of these was his blending of gou
More about Ezra Jack Keats...

Other Books in the Series

Peter (7 books)
  • The Snowy Day
  • Peter's Chair
  • A Letter to Amy
  • Goggles!
  • Hi, Cat!
  • Pet Show!

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