One of my students asked if I liked dogs. “I love dogs. Well, I really like many animals.” I then realized why she asked me that. I had photos of my four felines on my desk. I dressed up as a cat for Halloween. I then noticed that many of the picture books I read to the students were about cats. I knew I had unintentionally been focusing on cats. What can I say? I was guilty of a bias for cats. I found three more cat picture books that I adore.
Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite by Stacy McAnulty; illustrated by Edward Hemingway. Pencil, ink, and digital media. 2017. Published by Two Lions.
Brief summary: Mr. Fuzzbuster and Lily have been together since they were both tots sharing life events throughout the years. Mr. Fuzzbuster is concerned with the additional pets (Fish, Frog, Bird, and Dog) and that he may no longer be Lily’s favorite. He writes her a note asking what pet is the favorite. Lily walks through the house telling how each of her pets are her favorite in a certain category. Mr. Fuzzbuster gets the favoritism he seeks but then wonders…
Comments: Mr. Fuzzbuster is a true cat–always wanting to be the center of attention.
Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper; illustrated by Elisha Cooper. 2017. Black and white illustrations. Published by Roaring Brook Press.
Brief summary: There is a white cat living alone in a house until a black kitten arrives learning all about how to live the house through the white cat’s teachings. The black cat grows to be the same size as his new friend. They spend many years together until the white cat gets older and does not come back. Then one day, a white kitten joins the black cat who shows the new kitten how to live in the house.
Comments: This cat picture book continues in the mind of the reader. The life cycle. This would be a good story for the school counselor to read when a student’s pet dies. One could share this book to help explain death and dying and how we go on.
Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey by Doug Kuntz, and Amy Shrodes; illustrated by Sue Cornelison. 2017. Published by Crown Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: Kunkush, a beautiful white cat, and his family must leave Iraq to find a safe place to live. Sura and her four daughters and son pay smugglers to get them out of the country only being permitted to take food and water. Kunkush is concealed in a basket. The cat stays hidden as they go to one country to another. They arrive in Greece and must all get on a small rubber boat. Once they land though the frightened cat flees into the woods. After searching for hours, the family has to leave. Two volunteers, Amy and Ashley, notice a white cat living with a colony of cats on the island and take it to the vet to get help and cleaned up. They rename him Dias. Amy keeps the cat in her apartment. The two volunteers are determined to find the owner and put up a Facebook page. Amy’s time in Lesbos has ended. She takes Dias back to Germany where some of the refugees traveled. A British couple keep him. Soon Dias is found by his family who are living in Norway. Doug, a photographer, take Dias to Norway to reunite the cat with his family.
Comments: This is a story that can be shared with students by showing the cat’s journey on Google maps and learning about countries the family traveled through on their journey. Refugees and immigrants can be discussed. What causes someone to flee their country? How would you feel only being able to take food and water with you? This story could be used to discuss feelings. How do you think Sura felt when her husband was killed and she had to flee? What did she think was going to happen to her and her family? How did the family feel while being smuggled? What about when they could not find Kunkush? How did they feel when they were reunited in Norway? There are photos of the cat and map of his journey. This is a picture book that could have several discussions and lessons not only with elementary schoolers but for older students as well. Warning: Kunkush dies in 2016 from a feline virus.
*(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program. Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).