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Whistle for Willie

(Peter #2)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  10,319 ratings  ·  395 reviews
This is the simple story of Peter, who longs to whistle for his dog, Willie, and persists until he does. When Whistle for Willie was first published in 1964, The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Keats's illustrations boldly, 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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Average rating 4.25  · 
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 ·  10,319 ratings  ·  395 reviews

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I love the colors in this books. The backgrounds of pink bricks are so pretty. Amazing colors that jump off the page to this day. It's like Jan Brett, you see a Ezra Jack Keats page of art and you know who it is immediately without knowing the book. It's distinct.

Peter is so lucky. I can't whistle and I have tried my whole life. My father has a beautiful whistle. Peter is trying to whistle to get the attention of a Dachshund. He practices and practices until he can finally whistle. Willie comes
Dec 22, 2012 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.
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
This now classic storybook has always been a favorite of mine. I remember trying to learn to whistle, too, and I was doing so in order to call my dad's cat in for dinner. The boy in the book, Peter, has a huge imagination and his parents support him in that, such as when he pretends to be his father and his mother tells him she thinks Peter was out with the dog and perhaps he could find him there.

I like that the dog is a daschund yet no one makes fun of that. I love that the family is black,
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
B. P. Rinehart
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
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.
Kelly Peay
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: csulb545class2
Ezra Jack Keats. Whistle for Willie. (1964). Board Book Edition. To say I judged a book by its cover would be an understatement. I saw the long, skinny body and short legs of a dachshund walking off the cover of the spectacularly sweet story of a boy named Peter, and his dog Willie - and I fell in love! The book is both written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats. I am a fan of both the story and the illustrations. It is about Peter, a young African American boy, who wants to learn to whistle in ...more
Olivia Lavelle
Jan 30, 2012 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
Nora Ramirez
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
1- I enjoyed reading this book because is about a little boy that does not give up until he learns to whistle. The pictures are great because it demonstrates how he tries so hard to learn to whistle. This book is great for children that give up easily when learning something new in their daily lives or in school. Also, he uses his imagination like any other child while growing up. For example, he plays catching his shadow.

2- I believe after reading this book to children, they are going to want
Jan 25, 2013 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.
Stacy Renee  (LazyDayLit)
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not the biggest fan of Keats' artwork but it IS iconic.
Plus this is a cute story.
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 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: animals
I thoroughly enjoyed reading "Whistle for Willie", Peter is one determined little boy when it came to wanting to learn how to whistle for his dog. It shows how if you continously practice at something you want to learn it eventually pays off. The illustrations in the book reminds me of a collage, very colorful and abstract, but shows the persistance that Peter is going through to learn how to whistle. Willie is one lucky dog to have an owner who wants to do special things for him.

Jun 26, 2008 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
Renee M
Oct 27, 2015 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
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
Yolanda Mason
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lori Nii-amassah
Feb 12, 2012 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 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.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-lit
This story is about a little boy named Peter who really wants to whistle to catch his dogs attention. He tries several times but he keeps blowing out air, no whistle. He even tries on his dads hat and pretends to be a grown up to try to whistle but no whistle. While he is out playing with his shadow, he sees his dog Willie and he tries to whistle and you never guess what happens, he whistles.
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I adore the illustrations of Ezra Jack Keats --
Winter Sophia Rose
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful Illustrations, Engaging & Sweet! We Loved It!
Feb 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids
Keats is really good at conveying weather - though the story doesn’t really pull me in the way Snowy Day does.

Kids this age are fascinated by whistling - this book makes me think of a Peppa Pig episode about not being able to whistle yet. And the book does a good job of capturing the essence of a hot summer’s day with nothing much to do and the random activities that children find to fill that sort of time. That said, the story was a bit too random for me.
Denise Lauron
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this little adventure. I have been working on reading the whole series of the author's books, and Peter's adventures are fun. I enjoy how Peter always gets distracted partway through whatever he's working on.

I think that a child would enjoy this story and the illustrations, too.
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this and its companion "The Snowy Day" in elementary school. The date is not important, lol. I was looking for books to read for a FB reading challenge and came across these books. Cute, quick stories for any generation.

What I didn't know and have never seen a copy of is "Clementina's Cactus" also written by Ezra Jack Keats.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Most people know Peter from The Snowy Day. Here is the story of him and his journey to learn to whistle for his dog, Willie. A cute story of learning something new and the joy of sharing it with others.
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ezra Jack Keats has recently became one of my favorite children's book authors. "Whistle for Willie" is one of my favorites of his. I love the comical aspects of this story. When reading this book aloud I would emphasize those comical parts such as him hiding under a box to try and trick his dog, as well as him pretending to be his father. Many kids at a preschool age do not know how to whistle so this could be a great learning experience on trying to whistle. I also love the warm colors used in ...more
Leigh Triplett
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ga-pre-k-books
This book would teach children that sometimes skills do not always come easily and take more time to learn. The pictures are colorful and look like they were designed with paper pieces. Overall it is a fun book to teach the important concepts of patience and practicing skills.
Dan Hyer
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Nice book, but somehow it didn't grab us the way that snowy day did.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This guy gets kids.
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text to text - whistle for willie 1 1 Jan 22, 2019 10:24AM  
Class Review 1 3 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

Other books in the series

Peter (7 books)
  • The Snowy Day (Peter, #1)
  • Peter's Chair
  • A Letter to Amy
  • Goggles!
  • Hi, Cat!
  • Pet Show!