Picture Books : Who Let the Cat IN?
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about dogs, called Picture Books : Who Let the Dogs Out? in which I mentioned the battle that often materializes when dog people and cat people start discussing their pets. I have two dogs, and I mentioned how misguided my sister and her daughters are for owning—and fostering MORE—cats. Well, let’s just say that the post did not go over well with them, and so I am writing this one to apologize for my comments and to compliment them on their compassion and their altruism and to say that cat people are just as good as dog people.**
So, Faye and Megan and Katie Jo and all you other cat people out there, these new picture books are the cat’s pajamas!
(After reading these books would be a great time for a discussion on pet shelters and rescue organizations.)
Cat Napped by Leeza Hernandez. 9780399164385. 2014. Gr PK-K.
A pet gray city cat likes to mosey around outside, but one day her curiosity gets her into trouble. Seeing a yellow stuffed chair in the back of a pickup, she curls up for a nap—but when she wakes, nothing is familiar. She hurts her leg when she jumps out of the truck and hides under a bush, where she is found and brought to the pound. Meanwhile, the cat’s young owner is frantically searching for her. This picture book, with its rhymes and rhythms, will make a great read-aloud.
Cat Whys by Lila Prap. 9780735841253. 2014. Gr K-3.
Why do cats act like they do? Here are very short stories that provide tongue-in-cheek answers to most of the common questions, such as: Why do cats purr? (“They’re really snoring.”) Impertinent mice on each page give their own cheeky commentary on these stories. (Cats are “growling in their sleep because they can’t catch all the mice in the house.”) Cat Whys might be more engaging for dog lovers, because most of the answers are not charitable towards cats. Though there are more words per page than in your average picture book, even preschoolers should have no trouble listening to these hilarious stories.
Cats Are Cats by Valeri Gorbachev. 9780823430529. 2014. Gr PK-2.
Cats are cats, no matter what size they are. Miss Bell loves cats, so she heads to the pet store and comes out with a kitten. And since the kitten is orange with black stripes like a tiger, Miss Bell names him Tiger. Tiger grows and grows, taking over the house, but Miss Bell loves her cat, musing that “cats are cats.” Knowing that cats love fish, Miss Bell sets up an aquarium for him. Tiger loves his fish, even the one that grows…and grows. The last page—showing a shark fin in a bathtub full of water—is sure to bring a laugh.
Matilda’s Cat by Emily Gravett. 9781442475274. 2014. Gr PK-1.
Wanting to make her pet feel at home, Matilda puts on her cat suit and tries to engage her cat in all sorts of feline activities—playing with wool, crawling in boxes, etc.—but the kitty reacts with disdain, disgust, even horror. Finally, tired of a day of rebuffs, Matilda takes off her cat costume and gets ready for bed—only to realize that her cat merely wants to cuddle. A good book for kids with aloof cats—or other pets that aren’t quite what their little owners expected.
Naughty Kitty! by Adam Stower. 9780545576048. 2014. Gr PK-1.
Lily wanted a dog, but her mom got her a little kitten instead, stating that dogs were much too…everything! But one day, after leaving her kitten in the kitchen to eat her food, Lily returns to find a huge mess and, of course, blames the tiny feline—who else could have done it? Lily doesn’t know that a tiger has escaped the zoo and is running amok in her house. My favorite picture is of Lily holding a bag of poo that is much bigger than her kitten, while scolding her pet of making the mess. This great read-aloud will have kids laughing out loud. For dog lovers, check out Stower’s Silly Doggy! (9780545373234. 2012.)
And finally, a book that both dog and cat lovers will find equally satisfying.
Dog Vs. Cat by Chris Gall. 9780316238014. 2014. Gr PK-2.
On the same day that Mrs. Button buys a cat from a pet store, Mr. Button adopts a dog from the shelter. It’s distaste at first sight. The biggest problem is that they will have to share a room. Though they try at first to cope, their doggy and kitty natures are not compatible, and soon each is doing their best to sabotage the other. Finally, they decide their only option is to build a wall to separate the room into two halves; but now the room is too quiet. In addition to the hilarity provided by these two seemingly irreconcilable characters, this book also would be a great way to introduce problem solving and conflict resolution, as well as sibling rivalry. In the end, Dog and Cat find a way to peacefully coexist—almost.
In case you haven’t had enough, here are a few more books about cats:
A Bed for Kitty by Yasmine Surovec. 9781596438637. 2014. Gr PK-1
Here Comes Santa Cat by Deborah Underwood (illus. by Claudia Rueda). 9780803741003. 2014. Gr PK-1.
I Am Cat by Jackie Morris. 9781847801357. 2014. Gr K-3.
I’m Going to Catch My Tail! by Jimbo Matison. 9781419713828. 2014. Gr PK-2.
Is That My Cat? by Jonathan Allen. 9781907967740. 2014. Gr PK-K.
**Did you notice how I got by without admitting that CATS are just as good as DOGS?