Litwin enjoyed performing with young children and helped him develop "musical interactive literacy" or dance, music, and reading. He loved the idea of literacy and music together. Litwin came up with the idea of a young girl loving her white shoes. Artist, James Dean had been creating images of his own cat for years. At a stop light, they ran into each other. Eric Litwin told James Dean that he had a fun song for him. Through emails they combined ideas. Pete the Cat was now going to have a voice.
The two consulted with other authors taking two years to develop their first book. Litwin and Dean self published I Love My White Shoes in 2008. A book with less than 300 words told the story of Pete as he walks down the street singing “I love my white shoes,” until he mucks up his sneakers by stepping in strawberries, blueberries, and mud. A narrator repeatedly asks, “Did Pete cry?” to which comes the response, “Goodness, no!” After thirty pages, the story ends with a wholesome recap: “No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song . . . because it’s all good.”
In May 2009, Litwin and Dean signed a two book contract with HarperCollins. They reproduced White Shoes and added Rocking in My School Shoes to go with it. With great success the two produced Four Groovy Buttons and Pete The Cat Saves Christmas. They went on national tours. During this time, Dean would paint a basic Pete to leave behind for schools and businesses as Litwin strummed his guitar and sang. The fanbase swelled. At an Austin bookstore, a crowd clogged the aisles. Litwin recalls one performance when his microphone malfunctioned during a reading of White Shoes. In unison, 200 children rose from their seats and finished the story from memory.
Sadly, by the end of 2012, the partnership had ended. A lawsuit decided that Dean could produce more Pete the Cat books and Litwin could use the art in his presentations.
Eric LItwin travels and gives hundreds of performances a year. His performances are very lively and interactive. Get ready to sing, dance, laugh and fall in love with books if there is a performance near you! If you want to check where Eric is performing or sign up for him to come to your school, check it out at... http://www.ericlitwin.com/performanceses !