Stick Cat: A Tail of Two Kitties: Stick Cat, Book 1

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Stick Cat: A Tail of Two Kitties: Stick Cat, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Sweet tale of kind cat is daffy fun for reluctant readers.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Great examples of being a good friend, looking out for others, showing compassion, and using observational skills.

Positive Messages

Celebrates simple joys of companionship, demonstrates gratitude, and encourages looking out for the well-being of others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Stick Cat is patient with Edith, even when her stubbornness and narcissism are problematic. He's good at winning her over to his view and getting her to focus on the task at hand by building her up rather than belittling her -- though it's hard to tell if he genuinely enjoys her friendship. He's deeply concerned for the injured musician and willing to take great risks to help him, and he's careful to try to keep others safe. Edith is candidly grateful to Stick Cat for helping her feel good about herself. She's always game for adventure.

Violence & Scariness

The cats use a clothesline to cross from one building to another, 23 stories above the ground. One of the cats is very scared about the crossing and hangs precariously from the clothesline. A man is physically trapped under a piano lid and described as being in pain.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tom Watson's Stick Cat features similar humor but none of the characters from his popular Stick Dog series. This time Watson sets the story against an urban backdrop. When Stick Cat sees a familiar stranger in need, he's intent on helping -- even putting himself in extraordinary danger. His compassion toward others and patience with his exasperating cat friend Edith is winning. Kids will giggle at Edith, but adults will notice that the only female character in the story is ditzy, self-absorbed, and obsessed with her appearance, and her size is the basis for a repeating joke.

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What's the story?

After Stick Cat's human roommate leaves for the day, his friend Edith slips through a hole in the wall to visit, play games, nap, and enjoy listening to Mr. Music in the piano factory across the street. But on this day, something goes terribly wrong: The piano player ends up trapped. It's up to Stick Cat and Edith to rescue him.

Is it any good?

Author Tom Watson turns his comedic talents to poorly drawn cats for this spin-off series featuring a thoughtful, clever feline, his goofy but headstrong sidekick, and their everyday adventures. STICK CAT: A TAIL OF TWO KITTIES shines when it focuses on the cats' great but simple joys -- particularly Stick Cat's appreciation of the music and city sounds drifting through the window -- and on Mr. Music's painful predicament. Watson lingers in these passages, inviting readers to pause and reflect along with Stick Cat.

Edith is a less introspective character -- her ditzy nature gets laughs, but it would have been nice if the only female character had more obvious strengths. Even her bold sense of adventure is turned around as recklessly shortsighted. This quick-moving easy reader has short chapters, plentiful line drawings, and a page-turning plot that should engage beginning readers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the friendship between Stick Cat and Edith. In what ways is Stick Cat kind to Edith? Do you think they're very good friends?

  • Is there a Mr. Music in your life, someone you don't know well who brings joy to your life?

  • How do you deal with friends who don't want to do what you want to do or who insist on doing things their own way?

Book details

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