A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Normally, the old man and the cat live together out in the country where they go fishing during the day, eat potato soup together at night, and generally share a life. The old man grumbles about the cat, and the cat acts aloof as cats are prone to do. Then, one day, the cat does not get up to go fishing, the man leaves without her, and they both learn important lessons about what life would be like if the other weren't around.
Is it any good?
Warm, expressive watercolor-and-gouache paintings help create the tender though curmudgeonly tone that enriches the story. The folksy, rural language fraught with grammatical eccentricities and country words makes it seem real and honest. Together Terry Farish, who generally writes for young adults, and illustrator Barry Root tell an unusual story with impressive text and terrific illustrations.
This is a book any cat lover will love. And the rest of us will appreciate it, too.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the relationship between the old man and his cat. Do you think they like each other? What makes you think so? Why did the old man think the cat was "nobody's prize"? Do you think the old man and the cat need each other? Why? Families might enjoy talking about the language used in this story. How do the double negatives or the use of "them birds" rather than "those birds" add to the country tone? The illustrations are also something to discuss. Notice the expressions on the characters' faces. What do they show? How do they change? How about the colors in the sky? How do they reflect the mood of the story?