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Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue (Nutshell Library)

4.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,653 Ratings  ·  158 Reviews
Pierre’s ‘I don’t care!’ intrigues a hungry lion. ‘A story with a moral air about Pierre, who learned to care.’
Paperback, 48 pages
Published March 15th 1991 by HarperCollins (first published 1962)
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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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“Pierre: A Cautionary Tale” is apart of the Nutshell Kids Library collection by Maurice Sendak and is one of the most exciting one out of all the stories of the collection. “Pierre: A Cautionary Tale” is about a young boy named Pierre who never cared about hurting other people’s feelings until a lion comes for a visit. This book will definitely be a cult favorite among children who are fans of Maurice Sendak’s works.

Maurice Sendak has done a superb job at both illustrating and writing this book
Jun 16, 2013 Laima rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I've included a link to Carole King's musical version of this classic children's story.
A fabulous combination of talent - Sendak's lyrical words and King's beautiful voice.

The copy I read was printed in 2013 but includes the original 1962 cover. The artwork in this story is also really well done; classic Sendak style.
What I didn't know?? This book is part of The Nutshell Library:

One was Johnny
Chicken Soup With Rice
Alligators All Around

To sum it up this is "a sto
Jul 10, 2013 Dolly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: childrens, rhyming, 2013
Odd, but entertaining story about a little boy who doesn't care. I've never been much of a fan of Maurice Sendak's work, but I thought this was a clever and humorous tale. The illustrations are simple and the chapters are very short. I am not sure if this book is appropriate for younger children, but older children will likely be able to appreciate the wry wit.

interesting quote:

"The moral of Pierre is: CARE!" (p. 48)
Jul 24, 2007 Esther rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pre-1993
My kindergarten class did a skit to the song about how Pierre doesn't care and for years I couldn't figure out where the song was from and why it haunted me. I would even sing the one part I knew to people once in a while and no one could tell me more about it. I finally figured it out at the Maurice Sendak exhibit at the Jewish Museum about three years ago. It was like a revelation.
May 23, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who don't care
Recommended to Sarah by: Edie
Shelves: picture-books
A gem, to be sure with a solid moral. I do so love a moral.
Feb 28, 2009 Krystal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sean
Author: Maurice Sendak

Genre: Fiction Picture Book

Publication Info: Harper Collins Publishers Inc.: 1991

Reading Level: Ages 4-8

Topic/Theme: caring

Issues Addressed: It is better to care about something than to not care at all.

Classroom Uses: Read Aloud, Independent Reading

Summary: Pierre responds to everything with "I don't care." He does not care about anything. He does not care what his mother thinks. He does not care what he eats. Pierre is a comical character who learns to care.

Text and im
May 01, 2013 sj rated it it was amazing
Shelves: with-younglings
I just finished reading this 4 times in a row with my six year old. He read most of it to me, then asked me to read it to give the voices the proper tone.

He always doubts me when I say "Oh, this is a good one! I LOVED this one when I was your age!" but this time he listened to me, and he loved it.


His favourite parts involve the lion (of course) - he loves the satisfied smirk on his face when Pierre is eaten and watching Pierre's father smacking the lion with the chair.

I'm glad I found a co
Sep 20, 2015 Susan rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014, storybook
I never really liked this one as a child. Pierre getting eaten because he 'doesn't care'? It always just seemed to me that Pierre was just trying to do his own thing and avoid arbitrary directives. OK, not pouring syrup in your hair is a good idea, but not standing on your head, and to be killed for either?!? The 'moral' seems more like 'conform unquestioningly to authority or you will risk being killed for it'.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I LOVE Carol King's song about Pierre better than the book. I think it's because I'm not fond of Sendak's artwork.
Michael Mendoza
Oct 13, 2015 Michael Mendoza rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-lit
This was indeed a book that I found interesting and was a little shocked by it. For starters, the prologue that was given basically said there is a main idea to this book. I have never seen that before and was right away intrigued to see what it was by the end. But the actual main idea was correct but who it was intended for was up for debate. It could have been for the parents to raise their child better with respect or it could have been for the child to see that if you disrespect your parents ...more
Aaron Siclovan
Sep 16, 2014 Aaron Siclovan rated it really liked it
Pierre is a little boy, who grows up in a family, where he has the opportunity to enjoy life, but he chooses, instead, to be miserable. No matter how hard his parents are trying to educate him, his response is always disrespectful. Pierre is not listening to his parents even though they are telling him to do something for his own benefit. His answer is always "I don't care." Even if he is in danger, Pierre simply is saying that he doesn't care, so that's the way he gets eaten by the lion. Return ...more
Jul 15, 2015 Mark rated it liked it
"Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and A Prologue" by Maurice Sendak is perhaps a good antidote for the careless phrase, "I don't care". Written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, this whimsically illustrated and curious tale of Pierre -- the boy who never cared -- is a great book to read. Pierre never cares and frustrates his parents with his “I don’t care” attitude. He does what he wants when he wants, reminding us of Max, another unbridled soul in Sendak’s "Where the Wild Things Are" ...more
Lesley Looper
I remember enjoying reading this story to my students, and I also enjoyed the cassette tape (at the time) of the story put to song, sung by Carole King. Cute story about a little boy with an attitude who gets eaten by a lion. When he gets shaken back out of the lion, he has a whole new attitude! :)
Feb 16, 2011 Deborah rated it it was amazing
When I was little, my mother always pulled out this book and read it to us whenever we told her that we didn't care. Now whenever anyone says that they don't care, I automatically think of this silly book. I really like the book and the moral is a good one.
Amar Pai
Dec 18, 2013 Amar Pai rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
Arriving home
at six o'clock,
his parents had
A dreadful shock!
They found the lion
sick in bed
and cried,
"Pierre is surely dead!"

Sep 23, 2010 Dianna rated it really liked it
"There once was a boy named Pierre
who only would say, "I don't care!"
Read his story, my friend,
for you'll find at the end
that a suitable moral lies there."
Maya Watts
Apr 28, 2014 Maya Watts rated it really liked it
Pierre: A Cautionary Tale is a Maurice Sendak classic with a valuable lesson. It is a children’s chapter book about Pierre, a boy who does not care. He repeatedly disobeys his parents and always comments, “I do not care.” They leave him alone and he is eaten up by a lion because he says he does not care. Thankfully, Pierre is saved from the lion’s belly. He is alive, and he does care. The pictures in this book are very basic pencil drawings. The color is minimal, mostly black and white and yello ...more
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
Jul 06, 2012 Linda (Miss Greedybooks) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
"There once was a boy named Pierre..." I DON"T CARE! :P
Jun 14, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue by Maurice Sendak is a classic moral tale of a child who learns a lesson about constantly replying: "I don't care!"

Sendak's illustrations are outstanding, with the humorous touches making the story engaging and effective, but not overly frightening. I love the illustration of the doctor shaking the lion upside down. I also greatly enjoy the long thin drawings above each chapter heading. My other favorite images include pouring syrup, wear
Sep 16, 2012 Blake rated it really liked it
I discovered this little book among our family books that my Mom has saved for us kids. I was looking through those books with her for ideas of books that I can read to my students. One of my favorite things about the book is the title! Hmm, it looks like the title is incorrectly written here. The actual title is: Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue.

My students were familiar with the book because their teacher had read it to them last year. However, they were still excited
Jim Erekson
Sep 10, 2015 Jim Erekson rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy, picturebooks
Although I'm not usually a fan of books trying to teach kids a lesson, this one does so in such an over-the-top and absurd way that it comes off as a parody (like young Lewis Carroll's volume of Useful And Instructive Poetry).

Love Carole King's song version of this!
Alicia Holt
Oct 28, 2015 Alicia Holt rated it it was amazing
I first heard this story sung by Carol King's melodic voice when I taught preschoolers in the 1980's. Maurice Sendak's classic Pierre is always better sung to children. It is a wonderful story of the importance of caring vs. not caring. My students always have a wonderful discussion after hearing this story sung to them. They also love to sing it when they read it to themselves. This is one of the best books I have ever shared with children. I highly recommend it.
Jul 23, 2015 Maggie rated it liked it
Shelves: 577-the-list
NYPL's picture books everyone should know

Silly story about a boy whose nonchalance lands him in hot water. Pierre sure learns to care! Really more of an easy reader than a picture book, so I probably wouldn't read it in story time.
Feb 14, 2014 Sprout117 rated it it was amazing
The one rare book that I will never forget from my childhood. Most children go through the "I don't care" phase and this is perfect.
Deb Kendall
Jan 16, 2016 Deb Kendall rated it it was amazing
Early Childhood. Fiction This book brings back memories of sitting on my grandmother's lap and learning how to be a good person
Sep 26, 2015 Gabriela rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather J.
one of my favorite books as a child. Would like to find a copy and purchase it for Teo and our family library.
Kevin Hull
Mar 24, 2015 Kevin Hull rated it did not like it
Dumb, annoying and uninspired. The usually excellent Sendak clearly just phoned this one in.
Jan 29, 2015 Rene rated it liked it
Shelves: rubyj
I actually sang this book, it was impossible to actually read for me…thanks Carole King :-)
Apr 19, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shocking and fabulous. My kids love it too. My favorite part is doing the voices.
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Maurice Bernard Sendak is an American writer and illustrator of children's literature who is best known for his book Where the Wild Things Are, published in 1963. An elementary school (from kindergarten to grade five) in North Hollywood, California is named in his honor.

Sendak was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Polish-Jewish immigrant parents, and decided to become an illustrator after viewing Wal
More about Maurice Sendak...

Other Books in the Series

Nutshell Library (4 books)
  • Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months
  • One Was Johnny: A Counting Book
  • Alligators All Around

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