Cats are an interesting animal. As one of two favorite pets along with dogs, they show very different characters from dogs. Their unique characters include arrogance, laziness, independence, sneakiness. Even with these characteristics, they are still lovable to a lot of human friends.
I believe many people prefer cats as a pet due to its unique characters. They come near human friends when they want, and love to be stroked on the head or the chin. They show a variety of emotions, which is quite unpredictable.
Several popular and educational books on cats are introduced herein. I hope our children enjoy reading these books.
The Cat in the Hat
(Author & Illustrator: Dr Seuss, Age range: 4~10 years)
On a cold wet day, a boy (referred to as ‘I’ throughout the book) and his sister Sally sit in a house while getting bored. Then, the cat in the hat comes into the house and shows a lot of fancy tricks. Meanwhile, the fish keeps complaining that the cat should not come in the house and should leave the house.
After showing a couple of fancy tricks and messing up the house, the cat brings a big box, which contains both Thing One and Thing Two. The fish keep complaining. Despite its complaining, both Thing One and Thing Two play in the house and mess it up even more. Just before the mother arrives, the cat cleans up the house entirely and leaves home.
The Cat in the Hat was published in 1957. The book was written and illustrated by Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904~1991), famously known as his pen name of Dr. Seuss. The words of “cat” and “hat” are carefully chosen as rhyming words (Wikipedia).
Boring daily life has turned to an exciting event with the cat in the hat. The tricks the cat showed, such as holding up a lot of objects, is quite impressive. Talking fish is also a funny character. It keeps complaining about the cat and both Thing One and Thing Two. Despite the fish’s worry, all the messes are cleaned up eventually.
The actions of both Thing One and Thing Two represent wild freedom and the hidden desire of both children to me. Although all the events happen in the house, it is quite an adventure for them.
Millions of Cats
(Author and illustrator: Wanda Gag, Age range: 2~5 years)
A very old man and a very old lady lived in a nice house, but they felt lonely. One day, they decided to find a cat. The man went out to find one. Then, he found millions, billions, or trillions of cats, and brought all of them back home.
When the couple tried to pick up the prettiest cat, all the cats tried to be selected by claiming that he or she was the prettiest one. After the quarrel, all the cats somehow disappeared, and only one vulnerable cat who did not claim that it was the prettiest one remained. Then, the old couple selected the cat. The cat lived with the couple for a while. Then, the couple thought that the cat was the prettiest one in the world.
Millions of Cats was published in 1928, and it won a Newbery Honor Award in 1929. It is the oldest American picture book still in print.
The scene of millions, billions, or trillions of cats are beyond children’s imagination. Our children can think about the concept of millions, billions, or trillions with illustrations.
Children are often in dilemma when making a decision of choosing the best one like us, grown-ups. They will agree with the content where the man tried to select the prettiest cat. The scenes of drinking water in the pond and eating up the grass on the hill are funny. The concept of millions, billions or trillions might be imaginable to them through these scenes. The scene of all the cats’ disappearance is somewhat mysterious. Did they really eat up each other? There are several unrealistic scenes in the book, such as emptying the pond and eating up all the grasses.
The fact that the most vulnerable one was chosen is somewhat significant. Our children can think about the concepts of arrogance and a humble attitude, and which one is desirable.
The Color Kittens
(Author: Margaret Wise Brown, Illustrator: Alice and Martin Provensen, Age range: 3~7 years)
Two cute kittens named Brush and Hush have a lot of buckets of many colors. But, they cannot read the labels, and they need to make the color they want by trial and error. They want to make green by mixing several combinations of two colors.
They tried many combinations such as red & white, yellow & red, and red & blue. Although they did not make green with these combinations, they made a lot of beautiful colors such as pink, orange, and purple, respectively. Finally, they made green by mixing yellow and blue. With all the colors they have made, they painted everything around them.
In their dream while sleeping, more scenes of beautiful colors continue to be introduced.
The Color kittens was published in 1949. It is an excellent book for children to learn a lot of colors. Our children can learn the names of many colors and the concept of mixing colors. Many objects of a variety of colors are introduced.
Children can also be inspired to learn how to read by noticing that two kittens cannot read the labels.
Pete the Cat Rocking in MY School Shoes
(Author: Eric Litwin, Illustrator: James Dean, Age range: 4~8 years)
Pete the cat is going to school while wearing red shoes. He visits many places such as a library, lunchroom, playground, and home again. Wherever he goes, he is singing the following song.
“I am ________ in my school shoes”, where __________ is filled with rocking/ reading/ eating/ playing/ singing/ painting/ adding / writing / rocking.
Pete the cat is a popular character in the children’s literature. There is even a website that introduces a lot of books, songs, and videos about Pete the Cat. http://www.petethecatbooks.com/
The book is fun reading, especially when it is combined with singing. The repeated rhymes and rhythms are quite addictive. Our children will enjoy reading and singing along the songs.