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Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of writers who contribute a picture book review and related resources.
My selection today is another classic picture book…this one from 1928…the author/illustrator, Wanda Gag, won the 1929 Newbery Honor Book Award. According to Wikipedia, Ms. Gag pioneered the double page spread in this book. “She used both pages to move the story forward, putting them together with art that sweeps across the entire page spread.”
Millions of Cats is the oldest American picture book still in print!
Millions of Cats
Written and illustrated by Wanda Gag
Publishers: Coward McCann (1928 original edition), Penguin (more recent editions)
Ages: 2 – 8
Themes: Celebrating the uniqueness of each individual, caring for pets, companionship
Opening: “Once upon a time there was a very old man and a very old woman. They lived in a nice clean house which had flowers all around it, except where the door was. But they couldn’t be happy because they were so very lonely.”
Synopsis: A lonely old couple want a pretty little cat to keep them company. When the husband finds a hillside FILLED with cats, he has trouble picking the prettiest…and all of the cats follow him home. “Cats here, cats there, cats and kittens everywhere. Hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats.”
When the man and his wife leave it up to the cats to determine who is the prettiest, mayhem breaks out and the couple run into their house! Will the cats be able to choose who is the prettiest? Will the old couple get the cat that they want?
Why do I like this book:
The fact that this book is over EIGHTY years old and adults and children still love it and it is still in print! Kudos to Ms. Gag!
The Story! The results of the catfight are somewhat grisly…but the underdog (or should I say, undercat) wins out…through modesty and non-violence…definitely an important message for today’s world!
New Hampshire Public TV has a kid-lit site where Caldecott Award winning books are read. You can hear Millions of Cats here: http://video.nhptv.org/video/1688016012/
Anita Silvey’s Children’s Book-of-Days Almanac has a wonderful review of the book and additional information about Wanda Gag and her groundbreaking picture book work here: http://childrensbookalmanac.com/2010/12/millions-of-cats/
Scholastic has a page that provides some guidance for parents and teachers on how to use the book to encourage discussions about caring for others here: http://westonwoods.scholastic.com/products/westonwoods/study_guides/millions_of_cats.pdf
Last week I shared the Valentine Boat made from a shoebox. Plain brown paper bags also make very versatile (and inexpensive) craft projects for kids. I found this awesome cat made from a paper bag here: http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/mbagcat.htm Dltk-kids.com a wonderful resource for craft ideas.
You will need: Plain brown (or white) paper lunch-size bag, 2 pieces of construction paper (one should probably be black for the eyes and whiskers and the other can be pink…or any other color your child would prefer), glue, scissors, crayons or markers.
1. Cut from the black paper: 2 pupils for the eyes and 6 whiskers.
2. Cut from the other color paper: 2 eyes, oval stomach, nose, 2 triangles for ears, several small circles for the paws and a small triangle for the mouth.
3. Place the closed bag with the open end down and attach the eyes, nose, ears, mouth, paw pads and whiskers with glue.
4. Use marker or crayons to draw the line from the nose to the mouth and add other lines to make the bag more cat-like.
When dry, this cat-bag can be used as a puppet for role-playing or as a snack bag for a special book-reading picnic where Millions of Cats is read aloud!
This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill. Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.
I also wanted to thank Catherine Johnson, one of my new kid-lit picture book writing blogging friends for giving me the Liebster Blog Award and the Kreativ Blogger Award…you can see what she’s up to at: http://catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/campaign-trails-and-blog-awards/
This award comes with instructions to pass it along to others:
Bern at Momto2Postlildivas: http://www.momto2poshlildivas.com/ for her Sunday Showcase link-up that provides parents and teachers with an unbelievable array of crafts for kids.
Barbara at Spanish for Kiddos: http://www.spanish4kiddos.com/
D at Spanish Pinay: http://spanishpinaynanay.blogspot.com
Danae Farias at Believing Unbeliever: http://www.danaefarias.com/
Heather at Saved by Love: http://www.heather-riggleman.com/
PiP at Piglet in Portugal: http://pigletinportugal.com/
I hope you will take a few minutes and visit these great bloggers…they all have important things to say…and they say them very well!