Written and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach

Just fine!

This adorable story shows a cat keeping watch over a city neighborhood at night. Through fun onomatopoeia and rich imagery, we see the cat explore the block until she runs into a baby and mother bear in the bakery! Although initially afraid, the bears are kind to the cat and they all enjoy some baked goods together until morning comes and the bears leave.

During the reading: 

  • Get into the fun onomatopoeia (words that imitate the sounds of things) throughout the book! Just in the first few pages you’ve got scratch, squeak, clang, crash, etc. As you read those words, you can make them sound like what they’re describing, making the book more enjoyable for your child and helping them to develop the vocabulary of words they may have not previously known. 
  • When you read about the cat hearing the strange noise and wondering what they are, ask your child what they think the noises are! You don’t have to take long on their guess, and you don’t need to pressure them to answer, but asking can be a good way to help them use their imagination and practice the skill of predicting what will happen in a story. 
  • You might consider explaining some of the metaphors as you read them. For example, there’s one that says the cat “slipped into the darkness like icing melting down a hot cake”. This is probably something your child has never seen before (and hopefully not you either, because that makes for a messy cake disaster!), so you could ask your child if they remember a time when you baked a cake together (or watched you do it). Remind them of how you had to wait until the cake cooled to put the frosting on so that it wouldn’t melt. Then you can connect that now concrete concept to the way the cat is moving so that they have a clearer image in their head of what that must look like. If you have a fun memory of baking or eating a cake together, this will be really enjoyable for your child to reminisce about to strengthen your bond together as you’re helping them to strengthen their memory and narrative skills!
  • When you read about the “grrr [rumbling] from the bear’s belly”, ask your child if they know what that means! Explain that the bear is hungry–the bear’s tummy is empty, so it’s growling! 
  • Talk about the way the cat is feeling afraid when she confronts the mother bear! She describes the way her whiskers and paws shake and the illustrations do a good job of making her look afraid, but make sure your child understands her emotions at that moment. 
  • If your child likes physical affection, hug them tight when the cat gets hugged! By mimicking the sweet bear hug you can help them feel loved and increase their love of reading.

Themes: animals, silly

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Have you tried any of these ideas? Comment below to share how they worked for your family!