PPBF: Cat Tale….A Lesson in Group Dynamics and Word Power

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review.

I do have four (!!!!) things to share with you before we reveal the Perfect Picture Book Friday pick.

  1. Show Me How! has been endorsed by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).  Studies show that kids with special needs often struggle with self-esteem issues and JDRF feels the book is especially helpful to families who are dealing with juvenile diabetes or children with other special needs.  The book will appear on their newly launched book review page from now until April: http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=101074   I’m donating 20% to JDRF for any books people buy when they click through to my website from the JDRF page.
  2. If you haven’t already signed up for Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo 2012, hurry over and DO IT!  I’m planning on using the wonderful journal Susanna sent me for participating in Summer Short and Sweets…it will be PERFECT for those 30 picture book ideas that are already swirling around in my head!
  3. Monday, October 29, at 7pm EST, the wife of Governor O’Malley of Maryland will be talking about bullying on a Google+ HOA (Hangout on Air).  I may be joining the discussion.  I will definitely know by Sunday…so if it works out, I will include that information in my Sunday post.
  4. Susanna Leonard Hill has a wonderful Halloweensie writing contest going on right now…you still have plenty of time to participate…entries are due by Wednesday, October 31.

And now…because you have been so patient…perhaps I should offer goodies like Susanna does…here is the last PPBF for October.

Our Perfect Picture Book Friday choice is Cat Tale…in honor of  National Bullying Prevention Month.

Written and illustrated by Michael Hall

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (2012)

Ages: 4 and up


Communication (using words), friendship, group dynamics

First lines:

“From word to word, they find their way, Lillian, Tilly and William J.

They pack some books and kitty chews, they choose a spot, they spot some ewes.”


Using words, the three intrepid cats go from adventure to adventure…always sticking together.

Why do I like this book:



Experts recommend that kids use group dynamics and words to combat bullies (in addition to telling an adult right away).  Michael Hall’s three cats show us how using words and sticking together can get one past many obstacles.


Kids love to do arts and crafts!  Michael Hall used cut paper for his illustrations.  Using cut paper, kids can do amazing projects.

Here’s a cut paper “quilt” that would make a wonderful wall or door decoration for Halloween.  All you need is a large piece of poster board and several sheets of appropriately colored construction paper.  Trace various ‘Halloween” themed characters, cut them out and paste onto the poster board.  You can make the project more simple by using a single piece of construction paper and doing just one character.

Here’s a project that will be easy for the youngest child.  You will need several sheets of contruction paper in “Halloween” colors, paste and scissors.  Trace the child’s handprint several times on each sheet and cut out.  Paste them together to form a wreath shape and hang up on door or wall.  To make the wreath more sturdy, use a piece of poster board or cardboard as backing.

Both of these crafts are from: http://www.dltk-holidays.com/halloween/halloween_crafts_other.htm

More wonderful paper crafts here: http://www.marthastewart.com/274940/kids-paper-crafts/@center/276975/marthas-crafts-kids

And more amazing paper crafts here: http://www.origami-resource-center.com/kirigami-for-kids.html

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.   This is an unbelievable resource for any parent, teacher or children’s librarian.

47 thoughts on “PPBF: Cat Tale….A Lesson in Group Dynamics and Word Power

  1. Love the idea of cutting out the shape of the childs hand and then pasting the shapes to form a wreath. Kids will love this and the quilt.
    You have such great ideas Vivian. Love the word play in this book to.


    • Thanks, Diane!  And the wreath is a really great craft because by changing the colors, you can use the idea for different holidays…think green and red for Christmas, blue and gold for Hanukkah, pink, yellow and light green for Easter, etc. 😉 Are you ready for Monday and posting our next round of pb ms for critique?  And then Wednesday is Susanna’s Halloween contest…and Thursday starts PiBoIdMo!  Yikes!     


  2. Congratulations on Show Me How endorsement! My daughter will definitely enjoy this halloween wreath. She loves tracing her hands and feet! 😀 The only downside is that she insists on using scissors but she’s still too small for that… I hope I can find some scissors (maybe toy scissors) for her to use….

    Spanish Pinay


    •  Oh Marilou, I wish I had known…I would have included a pair of kids safety scissors when I sent you the book…but she was really too little then.:)  Check out stores that sell arts and crafts supplies.  Perhaps I should put together a basic arts and crafts kit that would be good to use with “Show Me How” and sell that on my website as well. 🙂 I’m glad you will try the wreath…LSP will have so much fun!  


    • You are so welcome!  And thank you for coming by…sometimes we don’t realize that kids need to ‘learn’ how to operate in social settings…they need to be taught how to use group dynamics in positive ways. 🙂   


  3. Hi Vivian- this sounds like a great book! I think kids hear a lot of talk about bullying, but don’t always know what to actually DO when it happens, or don’t have the right words in the moment. I’ll look for it. Congratulations on your endorsement, too.


    • Hi Carrie…yes, I’m pretty happy about the JDRF endorsement 🙂   The “Cat Tale” really showed how these three friends stuck together…we need to help young kids understand what being a friend is all about…as adults, we can help by being a good friend to our friends…role modeling is one of the most important ways kids learn! Counting down to posting a pb ms on Monday for our critique group…I’m looking forward to it!   


    • 🙂  Thanks, Julie…there is so much happening with many of the writers/illustrators (like you, for instance) in this kidlit community, I feel hard-pressed to keep up. 🙂  Glad you liked the story and activities…I need to get over and read and comment on everyone elses…and write the Halloween story for Susanna’s contest…and get my pb ms ready to post for my online critique group.  I love being busy…but sometimes it just gets overwhelming. 🙂  


    • Thank you, Darshana!  The picture books of today’s market are definitely NOT the picture books of a couple of decades ago.  Yes, it’s true, there is still an occasional one that is ‘sweet’…but most of them are pretty ‘over the top’.  I love a lot of the new ones…but some of them are just too geared for adults…with humor that young children won’t get.  “Cat Tale” is unique…the word play is fun (and confusing sometimes) and the art is child-friendly…and the message of friendship is important for kids. 🙂   


    • Welcome,, Laura…thanks for coming by! I’m so glad you will try the wreath…and yes, depending on the colors you use, it could be made for many different holidays and seasons! And it can be as simple or as elaborate as the age group of the crafters requires. 🙂


    • Thanks, Joanna…sometimes things all seem to come together in a glorious way!
      Yes, the word play is unique…I’d love to give writing something like this a try. 🙂 But I think it looks easier than it really is!


  4. You all have inspired me to sign up for PiBoIdMo. I already have an idea and am putting my journal together. I think I’ll use a beautiful book a friend gave me when I started writing. Also, I love your PPBF choice. That art work is beautiful and bold.


    • Oh, that is so cool, Kirsten. I’m thrilled to have inspired you to do PiBoIdMo…last year I was just getting my feet wet in this kidlit community and EVERYONE was talking about it…and now we are part of this great group and we are doing it as well! Glad you liked the book…I also thought the art work was amazing…yet, how simple…’just’ cut paper…kids will love to make their own books in a similar style. Aha! Another craft/activity. 🙂


  5. Congratulations on the JDRF endorsement and the myriad other wonderful things that are happening in your life these days, Vivian! This book sounds excellent. Not only does the story sound fun and important, but a cat named Lillian? Perfect! — My mother’s name was Lilian. 🙂 Great activity suggestion as well.


    • You are so kind, Beth…I can’t deny that I am in a state of bliss…I’m thrilled that this is an opportunity for the book to be seen by families who will benefit from using it. Glad you liked the story and activities…and Lillian is a beautiful name. 🙂


    • Oh Tara…how lovely of you to stop by. 🙂 With posts on your blogs EVERY day for the next month, I really appreciate that! I’m totally excited about PiBoIdMo…I even told picture book author Emily Lim in Singapore about it and she said she would try to participate. 🙂
      Glad you liked the wreath activity…it so simple…and lots of fun!


  6. I’m with RWR up above. That even though this is about cats the message is universal. and important.

    Congrats on getting the endorsement, Vivian. Looks like Show me how is coming along just fine. 🙂 And I love that you are going to use a special journal for your PBIMonth. 🙂


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