Friday, March 4, 2011

Fantastic Friday: Cats

Bad Kitty 
by Nick Bruel
Roaring Brook Press, 2005.
Grades K-2
Reviewed from personal copy.

Bad Kitty wasn't always a bad kitty, in fact she used to be a good kitty, until the day there was no kitty food in the house, only 'healthy' food.  Bad Kitty then proceeds to destroy the house to show her displeasure.  Once appropriate food is provided, Bad Kitty becomes good once more, although the reward she receives for her good behavior implies that her good behavior is not going to last. The following books contain the same sort of humor.  Interestingly several of the follow-up titles are chapter book length.

The author manages to insert ABC lists four times into Bad Kitty, which is quite an accomplishment in and of itself, but he also keeps the story moving forward to hold childrens' interest.  I have shared this book with my kindergartners and they enjoyed it greatly.  The colorful illustrations and design provide a nice complement to the wacky parts of the book.  Recommended.

I also used the following two stories to complete a fun cat story time.

Cat Secrets
by Jef Czekaj
Balzer & Bray, 2011
Grades PreK-1
Reviewed from personal copy

Three cats prepare to read their book of cat secrets.  When they discover that the 'reader' may not be a cat they devise a series of tests to determine whether the reader really is a cat or not.  While focused on the reader, the cats do not notice a mouse doing its utmost to get its hands on the book. 

The straightforward illustrations are perfect for sharing with younger children, reminiscent of Mo Willem's work, they allow the reader to focus on what is happening without being distracting.  The 'tests' that the cats come up with provide a perfect opportunity for children to participate in the story.  The ending is a bit abrupt, and it would have been nice to find out some of the 'cat secrets' but the story still provides plenty of fun.

Willy wakes up horrified to discover that his stuffed monkey, Bobo, is missing.  He explains to the reader why he 'must have Bobo'.  When he goes searching for his stuffed friend, he discovers that Earl, the cat, is also determined to have Bobo.

This is another fun book that showcases the independence of spirit that cats are known for.  While Willy is willing to compromise with Earl, Earl is most definitely not willing to compromise with him.  Anyone who has spent time around cats is likely to laugh or roll their eyes at Earl's persistence.  A good read aloud that begs for the reader to 'become' Willy and share in Willy's attachment to his toy.

Pets are a sure fire winner when it comes to story times and these three books are good choices.

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