Monthly Archives: October 2013

Cat Tales Make Amusing Children’s Books

Cats are warm and furry, soft and cuddly. A cat can be a child’s best friend, but it won’t take directions very well! Cats can stretch and bend into what looks like graceful yoga positions. They can also be aloof and finicky. With such distinct personality traits, cats make great storybook characters.

There are a few popular book series with cats that act more like people including “Pete the Cat” by Eric Litwin and James Dean, “Splat the Cat” by Rob Scotton, and “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss. Then there are some lesser-known books are about cats being their glorious feline selves:

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“Cool Cat, Hot Dog” by Sandy Turner. The whimsical illustrations in this book are made of collaged paper with ink details. Cats and dogs are different, but not exactly opposite in how they act. Cat says, “I can see in the dark.” Dog says, “I can roll around in the park.” Humorous, short descriptions of cat and dog antics will keep your pre-schooler laughing.

“Hero Cat” by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Jo Ellen McAllister Stammen. Based on a true story, Hero Cat gives birth to a litter of 5 kittens, but then has to recue them all from a building on fire.

“The Cookie-Store Cat” by Cynthia Rylant. Primitive illustrations with big blocks of color and scant detail show a cat living in a bakery and all the goodies he watches being baked. Recipes are including in the back of the book for seven goodies you can bake at home.

“Calabash Cat and His Amazing Journey” by James Rumford. Calabash Cat is drawn in bold black lines with strong patterns that mimic an art form from the African country of Chad. In this folk tale, a curious cat sets of on a journey to find where the world ends. He asks a camel, a horse, a tiger, a whale, and a bird, among others, and explores distant lands. Text is also provided in Arabic.

“Drat That Fat Cat” by Pat Thomson, illustrated by Ailie Busby. Based on the story “An Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” this hungry orange tabby cat swallows larger and larger animals until HIC! He swallows a buzzing bee and hiccups everyone back out.

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Fall Leaves, Pumpkins, and More!

Its Pumpkin TimeThe landscape will soon be swathed in fiery red, brilliant orange, and tawny yellow colors. The nights are getting longer, the days shorter, and there is a nip in the air. Children are back at school and a routine is setting in for your family. We are thick in the autumn season! Curl up in a blanket with your children, get cozy, and read some books about fall. Here are some ideas:

“It’s Pumpkin Time” by Zoe Hall, illustrated by Shari Halpern. The illustrations are in Eric Carle-style collage made with beautiful hand-colored paper. The story tells about how a pumpkin grows from a small seed to big orange globe that can become a jack-o-lantern.  

“Mouse’s First Fall” by Lauren Thompson and Buket Ergodan is a board book for babies and toddlers. Simple descriptions of autumn and charming illustrations give young children words for the colors and shapes they and how much fun it is jump in a pile of leaves. This is just one in the series of  “Mouse’s First” board books.

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“Fletcher and the Falling Leaves” by Julia Rawlinson, pictures by Tiphanie Beeke.  Fletcher is a young fox. He is alarmed when he sees a leaf fall off a tree in autumn. Then more leaves float to the ground. He wants to put them all back! But, he is finally convinced that it is ok for the leaves to fall off the trees when he sees how other animals use them for nests and to keep warm. When the first frost comes, the bare branches of the tree look magically glittery and Fletcher appreciates how a tree is beautiful in every season.

”The Biggest Apple Ever” by Stephen Kroll. Mouse characters Clayton and Desmond join a contest to find the biggest apple ever. Will they compete with each other, work together, or come up with another way to enjoy the contest? For school-aged children, the theme of this story is friendship.

“Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf” by Lois Ehlert. Colorful fall leaves are just one part of the life-cycle of a tree. Ehlert starts with the planting of a small maple sapling and then shows how it grows to maturity, using language that a young child will understand. A glossary in the back gives more details such as how a tree absorbs nutrients and uses photosynthesis. Illustrations are collage with cut paper, real seeds, fabric, wire, and plant material.

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