Kids & Pets (& picture books)

After nearly five months with us, our temporary cat has gone home.  We’ll miss the little kitty.  Of course, Ladybug took it upon herself to create a way to remember her first pet experience, taking a cue from the girl in I Had a Favorite Dress.  Ladybug’s drawing of Frances is now proudly displayed on the refrigerator.

Since, you know, I’m me, the first first thing we did when we welcomed Frances into our home was read up on cats.  I blogged about Take Care, Good Knight, but we also read Cat Secrets (for fun) and My Cat Copies Me (for imagination) in that first week when it was new and interesting. We talked all about what cats like (& dislike), how to take care of them, and how to be friends with them.

It wasn’t until I was wading through the newest picture books for a presentation at work that I discovered the book that shifted my view of how I should be talking to Ladybug about Frances. Funnily enough, it was about a dog.

A Ball for Daisy, which you might remember as the book that took the Caldecott Medal this year, is a wordless picture book about a dog and her toy.  In included it in a Books in Bloom post about picture books & character education since it addresses courtesy, but the real strength of the book–and why I imagine it took the award–is in the way that the illustrations portray Daisy’s emotions so clearly.

It was a light bulb moment for me.  Having an animal around will help my daughter learn to read the non-verbal cues that cats–not to mention people–use to communicate.  Turns out I’m not the first person to come up with this, but I still felt pretty proud of making the connection myself.  Ultimately, it reminded me to stop with the inundation of information about cats and just help the two become friends.  I’m happy to say it worked.  We are sad to see Frances leave, but we are happy that her real family is ready to have her back.

For the moment, we are a pet-less household, but I wonder how long that will last. :)


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Author: Mindy R

I'm a librarian, writer, book reviewer, etc.

4 thoughts on “Kids & Pets (& picture books)”

  1. Love Ladybug’s drawing! And I hadn’t thought about kids being able to learn about non-verbal cues from animals or animals-in-books. I’ve actually never had a pet, so I might need to pick up a few of these if my husband and I get a dog or cat in the near future.

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