Publishing: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015
Themes: Fiction, Cats, Fear, Kindness
Opening Lines: When Miss Hazeltine opened her Home for Shy and Fearful Cats, she didn’t know if anyone would come. But come they did.
Synopsis (taken from the book jacket): Miss Hazeltine has plenty of kitty company, and she gives her beloved scaredy-cats lessons in everything from Bird Basics to How Not to Fear the Broom. The most timid of all is Crumb. He cowers in a corner. Miss Hazeltine doesn’t mind. But when she gets in trouble and only Crumb knows where she is, will he find his inner courage and lead a daring rescue?
Why I Like This Book: I think this is a wonderful book to read to beginning first graders (which I did!). I have four kiddies this year who are dealing with separation anxiety and almost every morning since school started there have been some tears. The kids loved this book and they could all relate to having fears and finding ways to overcome them. I’m really drawn to the illustrations, too, and their earthy, warm colours. I find them quirky but comforting. They were all hand-drawn in pencil and then digitally coloured.
1. After reading this story it’s a natural to share personal fears. I think, for many children, just knowing they’re not alone with their fears, is very reassuring. A fun writing/art activity might be: “I USED to be afraid of …..” with an accompanying picture.
2. As an animal lover myself, I was struck with Miss Hazeltine’s generosity. This book provides the perfect opportunity to talk about the needs of pets and perhaps a visit to the vet or local SPCA. I can see this book being the impetus for a cupcake sale to raise money for an animal charity.
3. It also ties in nicely with our beginning unit on Respect and Social Responsibility. One of the activities I just did with this was break the kids into pairs to work on “Kind Words” posters. There’s even one where a child is about to rescue a cat!
I’ve linked up with Susanna’s Perfect Picture Book Friday where you can find more wonderful book reviews.