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Bathe The Cat

The family cat turns a day of housework into riotous story-time fun.

Recently my family celebrated two graduations – my oldest from high school and my youngest from middle school. My sister and her husband were coming down for a visit so we could commemorate the occasion. Now, my sister is a very, very neat person and me…well not as much. Therefore, you can guess the state I’m in before one of her visits. I make lists, assign tasks, and generally panic for several hours beforehand, all to get my home looking as if three teenagers and a dog don’t do their darndest to destroy it!

Well, if you can relate to that feeling of panic, chaos and mayhem before company arrives, then you will enjoy this book! Bathe the Cat captures the myriad tasks involved in preparing for family visits and the rushed feelings that accompany it. However, the book also makes light of the tumult by having the pet cat re-arrange the list of tasks to avoid its bath. This, of course, results in more confusion as, for example, instead of mowing the lawn, the cat instructs them to mow the dishes! Young children will enjoy the silliness of “rocking the mop” and “bathing the rug.”

Not only do I recommend this book for its playfulness but there are three other learning areas that this book lends itself too.

1) In anti-bias education, one important idea children explore is that families all over the world are the same and different. This book portrays a family featuring two dads and their multi-racial children. How does the family structure in this book compare to your family? Also, encourage your child to look closely at the illustrations. How do the members of the family feel about each other? How does that compare to how your family feels about each other?

2) This book is written in a rhyming verse. Recognizing rhymes is an important and growing phonological skill for young children. When reading a rhyming book, one fun way to engage your child is to leave off the rhyming word and let them fill it in. For example, you might read: “Sarah, scrub the lawn! Dad, you feed the mat! Bobby, sweep the baby! I’ll vacuum the ___!” Can your child guess the word that fits in?

3) One more wonderful language exploration you can take with your child as you read this book is to focus on the author’s use of idioms. “Get in gear.” “Out of hand.” “Lost my marbles.” These are just a few of the phrases included in this book that children might not understand because of their figurative use. You can take the time to explore what one, or more of them, mean. and then try to use them again. I don’t know about you, but I “lose my marbles” at least once each day!

Available at your local booksellers and Amazon.

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