Tag Archives: Cats

Hero Cat: Guest Post by Huyen MacMichael

Please note: Vegbooks has moved to vegbooks.orgThis is the last review that will be posted at this URL. This review, as well as all of your favorite past posts, are up on the new site. See you there!

After much searching in winter weather, a homeless cat finds an abandoned building to deliver her kittens. When she leaves her kittens to find some nourishment, she returns to find the building up in flames. As the firefighters work to put out the fire, the mother cat works to save her kittens, walking through the fire to find and carry them out one at a time. Hero Cat is a story about mother love as much as it is a cat story.

Spinelli describes a mother determined to do the best she can for her young and it is not so much that she’s a cat that makes the story amazing to me, but that she goes repeatedly into the burning building to save every single one of her babies. And then I read the final page and discover it’s based on a true story with a picture of the burnt cat and her kittens at a shelter. It brought me to tears seeing the photo and reading the biographical note. Stammen’s illustrations are
appealing and my daughter fell in love with the cat and the book. So did I.

Ages 4-8.

About Huyen: Huyen MacMichael is a stay-at-home mom, artist, and art therapist. She feels lucky to have found the sweetest rescued blue tick coonhound at the local no-kill shelter. She is raising her daughter vegan with her husband Ryan of Vegblog.org. As a mom, she enjoys the opportunity to read large quantities of children’s books to her daughter. As an advocate for the creative process, she appreciates a well-told and well-illustrated story.



Kiddo and I both loved “Bolt,” though I do think she was a little young to understand it entirely.  It starts sweetly when Penny rescues Bolt as a puppy.  Viewers soon discover that Bolt and Penny are stars of an action TV series, but Bolt has no idea that it’s all make-believe.  When he is separated from Penny, he must traverse the country to be reunited with his person, all the while coming to grips with the reality that he does not have super powers.

Kids will love the movie’s fast pace and the rapport among Bolt, a cat named Mittens, and a hamster named Rhino.  And parents who are concerned with animal welfare will appreciate the film’s message that people need to be faithful to their animal companions for life.

Ages 5+.  Rated PG.

Moo, Baa, La La La!

Little kids seem to love Sandra Boynton‘s board books.  Of all of that kiddo had, this is my favorite, in part because it teaches about the sounds animals make (albeit from a pretty anglo perspective) but also because it pokes fun at the anthropomorphism of so many little kids books.

The main joke in the book is highlighted in its title.  “A cow says moo.  A sheep says baa.  Three singing pigs say la la la!”  Of course, that isn’t right.  Pigs don’t wear bow ties, hold canes, and sing on their hind feet, as Boynton graciously allows her reader to point out.  And that’s precisely the fun of her book.

Full of cheerful illustrations and bright colors, Moo, Baa, La La La is perfect for little ones.

Ages 0-3.  For another perspective, visit Common Sense Media.

Dog Heaven

Dog Heaven - smCynthia Rylant’s work suggests that she knows what it’s like to grieve for an animal companion.  In this beautifully illustrated book, she envisions an afterlife for dogs, complete with angel children to play with, fluffy clouds to sleep on, and biscuits that God makes specially for them.

Kiddo and I got this book from the library after our beloved cat, Midge, passed away.   I found it to be comforting (though I did choke back tears), and it gave us a place to begin our discussion about what happens when an animal dies.  I’ve since learned that Ms. Rylant also has written and illustrated a book entitled Cat Heaven.

Ages 3-7.  For more reviews, visit Library Thing or Goodreads.

Busy Kitties

Busy KittiesThis rhyming board book by John Schindel and Sean Franzen is a great primer on cat behavior for little ones.   The kitties stroll, roll, hiss, kiss, think, and drink.

The photos are delightful, showing a variety of cats (none purebred, as far as I can tell) engaged in all sorts of things that cats do.  When she was smaller, kiddo enjoyed discussing the different colors in the book, as well as comparing the cats — some have long hair, some have short, and one appears to only have one eye.

Ages 0-3.  For other reviews, click here.

The Cinder-Eyed Cats

Cinder-Eyed CatsThis beautifully illustrated book by Eric Rohmann portrays the journey of a boy who traverses the sky to dance in the night with wild cats and a vast array of sea animals.  Kids will enjoy looking for signs of the cats before they ever appear on the pages of the book:  as the boy flies through the clouds in his boat, for example, he passes hills shaped like sleeping cats.  And that Rohmann leaves large expanses of his book without words is fun for kids and parents alike.

Most importantly, this book emphasizes the connections between people and 0ther animals without resorting to anthropomorphism.  Rohmann’s animals do not wear clothes or talk; the cats investigate the boy on the beach, leap like playful kittens, and eventually curl up for a good cat nap.

Ideal for ages 3-8.  For more reviews, click here.