The Good Luck Cat Book Poster Image

The Good Luck Cat



Cat in constant peril in picture book better for older kids.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Parents can use this book to talk about how to treat animals. Also, they could talk about Native American customs, as the narrator makes references to her family attending powwows.

Positive messages

A cat's life (or lives) may not always be easy, but Woogie the cat brings a lot of happiness to one little girl and her family.

Positive role models

The narrator loves her good luck cat, and while she doesn't always make the best choices for Woogie's safety, she is sad when she goes missing and puts out her favorite treats. Other members of the family help with the search.

Violence & scariness

The cat's life is threatened nine times: Boys shoot Woogie with a BB gun; a sharp-toothed dog chases her; a car nearly hits her; the cat spins helplessly in the dryer, and more. 

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book is about a cat who may have used up its nine lives being shot at by kids with a BB gun, accidentally trapped in a dryer, chased by a dog, and more. Families who have recently lost a pet may want to find another book -- but for those considering adding a furry friend to their household, this story can provide a good way to talk about how to treat pets (and also a reminder about their crazy cat antics, like sleeping near car motors and fighting with other felines).  Even though this is a picture book, it is probably a better fit for elementary-aged kids.

What's the story?

Woogie is a good luck cat -- after all, Aunt Shelly won at bingo after petting her. But the cat is quickly running through its nine lives after she is almost killed by a car, trapped in the clothes dryer, attacked a ferocious dog, and even shot at by boys with a BB gun. When Woogie disappears one day, the little girl narrating the story fears she is gone for good. For four days she worries and searches, until she wakes up to find Woogie \"purring and singing as if she had never left.\"

Is it any good?


Beautiful, striped, and scrappy, Woogie’s easy to love, and illustrations of her fighting another cat with her hackles raised or contently curled up next to her food bowl are realistically rendered. While the cat is in constant peril in this book, no actual violence is shown, and the majority of elementary-school kids should be able to deal with the content. They, too, will be most struck by some of the insightful writing, such as "When I pet her she purrs as if she has a drum near her heart."




Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the idea of a cat having nine lives. Why do people say that about cats? What does it really mean?

  • What are some ways the girl was a good pet owner? Was there anything she could have done better?

Book details

Author:Joy Harjo
Illustrator:Paul Lee
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Harcourt Brace
Publication date:April 1, 2000
Number of pages:32

This review of The Good Luck Cat was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

Top advice and articles

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written bySandraS 1 October 8, 2014

one of my favorite picture books

We are a cat loving family, and this book is one of our favorites. The book is well written and I love the characters. Many bad things happen to the cat, which may bother some, but I think it is realistic. My kids loved the book from a young age.
Kid, 10 years old May 16, 2009


Nobody should read this.It's sooo sad!!!!!Poor kitty!!!
Kid, 11 years old July 26, 2009
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models