Construction Cat

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Construction Cat Book Poster Image
Mom cat leads construction crew in fun, fresh work tale.

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Shows the many different tools and steps it takes to build a wooden structure. Models a family with nontraditional gender roles.

Positive Messages

Implied message that females can do tough construction jobs and lead a crew of workers. Implied message that a dad can be the one to stay at home and take care of the kids while the mom goes off to work. Work is easier and goes faster when you work as a team. "Safety first!" It's nice to let family members know you love them -- like when Pa secretly tucks a note in Construction Cat's lunchbox saying "We love you." 

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Barbara Odanaka's Construction Cat is the story of a mother cat who goes off to work as a construction crew leader while Pa stays home with the kittens. In addition to modeling nontraditional parent roles, it offers a cute, rhyming story about working together as a team to build something, using all the tools and vehicles it takes to get the job done. Great as a read-aloud for all kids, but especially construction fans.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4 and 5-year-old Written byDBRiggsFamily November 17, 2018

Shifting Gender Stereotypes

We got this from our local library this week and I have to say that I am most impressed with the author and illustrator's story about a Mom Cat that goes t... Continue reading

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What's the story?

CONSTRUCTION CAT shows a day in the life of a working-mom cat who leads a construction crew. She wakes up at dawn, gets dressed, puts on her tool belt, hugs her three kittens, takes her lunchbox from Pa, gives him a kiss, and is on her way. She drives a truck to the construction site in a park, goes over the architectural plans with her hard-hatted cat crew, and then it's time to build. Construction Cat drives an earth mover, and the cats pour cement, saw and carry wood planks, hammer nails, screw in screws, attach beams, stone, and brick to build an elaborate play structure. The final surprise: Her family arrives carrying a picnic basket, and they have dinner together on the grass. "A purrrrfect day." 

Is it any good?

This simple, upbeat story about a working mom who gets the job done offers a matter-of-fact representation of a female in a job often thought of as one for males. Construction Cat also models a dad who takes care of the home and kids. It does this all naturally, never in a heavy-handed way, aided by bouncy rhyming text and appealing digital cartoon art. "Construction Cat begins to dig,/ Shifting levers in the rig./ Whiskers twitching, eyes alert--/ She's a whiz at moving dirt." A great choice for kids who love trucks and construction site tales -- and cats and kittens!

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what the mom and dad do in Construction Cat. Is that the way parents are often shown in other kids' books? What makes it "nontraditional" to show a mom operating an earth mover or a dad cooking?

  • What looks the hardest about building a wooden structure? What do you think would be the most fun? 

  • Kids: Draw a picture of a play structure you wish you could build. 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love trucks and animal stories

Themes & Topics

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