Bad Kitty School Daze

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Bad Kitty School Daze Book Poster Image
Hilarious fun when cranky Kitty goes to obedience school.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

"Fun facts with Uncle Murray" explain why cats and dogs behave so differently, why they have such trouble getting along, and how pet owners can help a cat and dog become friends. Miss Dee's example offers some instruction in how to behave.

 
Positive Messages

Kitty's bad behavior is not tolerated in school, but her teacher shows the value in being willing to listen and looking for someone strengths, no matter how disagreeable they may be. Kitty's classmates learn how better behavior can make life more pleasant. And Kitty purrs happily when her teacher shows that she admires Kitty's good qualities.

 
Positive Role Models & Representations

Kitty is cranky and bristly, but her patient teacher isn't fooled: Kitty is kind to Puppy, delights Petunia with a gift, and supports the bunny. Petunia is persuaded to be kind to cats after getting to know Kitty. And the spotlight-hogging bunny learns to wait for his turn. The teacher is the type any parents would want their child to have in school.

 
Violence & Scariness

Kitty and Puppy get into trouble for fighting, and Kitty is mistakenly blamed for hurting Baby. (She later trips him on purpose.) A cat-hating bulldog named Petunia rants about wanting to chew their faces, punch them, and throw them into volcanoes, and during arts and crafts covers her paper with red paint, the "color of cat's blood!" It's funny, but sensitive kids might be taken aback. A funny would-be supervillain talks endlessly about taking over the world.

 
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bad Kitty School Daze, like the other books in this popular series, delivers some very good messages through the outrageous behavior of its bad-tempered heroine. Brief asides shed light on why cats and dogs get along so poorly and explain how families can encourage their dog and cat to get along. Sensitive kids might be taken aback by Petunia's initially violent feelings toward cats.

 

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What's the story?

Kitty and Puppy won't stop hissing, barking, and fighting, so their fed-up owner packs them off to obedience school. They enter Diabla Von Gloom's School for Wayward Pets with a self-proclaimed mutant supervillain rabbit and an intimidating bulldog who hates cats. Their teacher turns out to be patient and kind, helping to bring out the best in each pet as they go through familiar school activities: circle time, arts and crafts, show and tell, and so on. Kitty doesn't seem to have learned much in her day at school, but Miss Dee knows better -- and gets Kitty purring.

Is it any good?

This is another winning entry in Nick Bruel's Bad Kitty series. Kitty certainly isn't a cuddly cat, but she shows here she really can be a good friend. BAD KITTY SCHOOL DAZE will have kids howling with laughter, even as they absorb solid lessons on how to behave and why. They'll see the importance of kindness and empathy, even when it comes in a prickly package.

The bonus material explaining why cats and dogs are so famously incompatible underscores the book's message on redemption and the importance of trying to understand and appreciate each other.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how appearances can be deceiving. The gloomy-looking school turns out to be fun, scary-looking Petunia is actually a softy, and seemingly simple-minded Puppy is gifted in art and music. Is Kitty really bad?

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  • Why do you think the Bad Kitty series is so popular? What's fun about a character who gets in trouble?

  • Have you ever found someone who appeared to be mean or unpleasant but turned out to be really nice or funny?

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