Sunday, October 4, 2009


Two cat tales... same animal, very different stories!

Wojtusik, Elizabeth.
Kitty Up!
May 2008.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

A romping, rolling, simple, and satisfying tale—perfect for toddlers. There's a lot to keep a curious Kitty entertained indoors—rooms to run through, tables to topple, sleeping dogs to sniff. But what's this? A huge place full of sky and squirrels, birds and bugs! Kitty can't resist. Before the dog can say "Bark!" she's out the window and into the wide world. But what will she do when she can't find her way home? Happily, a friendly face is nearby to scoop her up when curiosity has worn her out. Kids and parents will see a bit of themselves in this lovable cat and dog pair, whose special dynamic is the heart of this bouncing, buoyant tale.

This bright colorful, short story will definitely appeal to toddlers - it's targeted age range. However, this book would also be perfect for beginning readers, at the simple text will not turn away those who are just becoming interested in reading words. The illustrations also provide plenty of context clues, which is hugely important for beginning readers as they try to read and comprehend text fluently.

Activities to Use in Collaboration with this book:
  • Antonyms - Between first and third grade, children should be aware of what antonyms are (words that have opposite meaning). This book definitely has it's share of antonyms on the first few pages. An antonyms worksheet for practice can be downloaded here.
  • Synonyms - Again, children in first through third grade especially should acquaint themselves with synonyms just as they should with antonyms. The later half of this book also features a good deal of synonyms. A worksheet for practice with synonym use can be downloaded here.
von Buhler, Cynthia.
But Who Will Bell the Cats?
September 2009.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

Finally, the solution to Aesop’s age-old question: Who will bell the cats? Mouse and his friend, Brown Bat, are determined to get out of the basement and into the banquet hall to join the fun and frolicking there. But escape won’t be easy with the cats blocking their efforts . . . It will take many attempts and a surprising solution for Mouse and Bat to succeed. Cynthia von Buhler’s enchanted upstairs/downstairs world shows readers the rewards of determination, bravery, and creativity—and reminds them of the uncomplicated power of kindness.

This really is a creative story... and the illustrations are amazing - it's like they're photo-shopped or something... I can't even really describe it! However, I've heard before that cats are the curious ones... but that's not the case at all here! In this story, the mouse and bat must outwit the cats, and do they ever! Definitely worth sharing as a read aloud!

Activity to Use in Collaboration with this book:
  • Since this book was written specifically to target the age-old question left by Aesop, "But who will bell the cats?," share Aesop's story of The Belling of the Cats, which can be found here. While you are doing this, discuss what fables are and share some of Aesop's other fables as well!
If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to


style='clear: both;' CVB said...

Hi Katie,
I enjoy reading your blog! The layout design is lovely. Thank you for the review! I noticed that you say I may have photoshopped the art for my book. I actually built the sets by hand and the characters are small paintings. There wasn't any Photoshop, but there was plenty of blood, sweat, and tears. I have a website with lesson plans, games, animations, and posters at

More info on the creation of the book:
"In addition to having written this story, Cynthia von Buhler was also the painter, sculptor, interior decorator, mason, gardener, and plumber of the sets. The rooms were built by hand from wood. The stone walls were formed from plaster. The floors are handmade from inlaid wood, mother-of-pearl, and plaster. The characters were painted in oils on gessoed paper, then cut out and placed in the sets. The scenes were photographed by Cynthia with a Nikon D300. You can view photos of the sets and see the creation of the book from the beginning stages by visiting the book’s blog,, which Cynthia used to communicate with her editor and Web designer as she was creating the final product."