Cats and Holiday Decorations

December 23, 2008

We have a cat named Kip in our home, and he has enjoyed the holiday decorations.  Our cat enjoys batting at the tree ornaments, jumping into boxes, and tearing the tissue paper.  Kip’s eyes will light up and friskiness arises.  He’s fun to watch, yet annoying when wrapping presents.

Margaret Wise Brown must have a cat as she has created a delightful book called A Pussycat’s Christmas.  This book is not a new one; oh, but it’s delicious!  (Yes, reading a good book is like chocolate to me, delighting my mind’s taste buds.)

Each page leads you to the next page; the last line seems to begin the theme of the next.  The sensory detail in this book is exquisite.  I do not find many books alerting the reader’s senses to smell, to sounds, to sight like A Pussycat’s Christmas.

And could she hear the crackle and slip of white tissue paper?”

“Tissue paper rustled.  Nuts cracked.  Scissors cut.”

“…where she could smell the sharp tangy smell of Christmas tree and candles and nuts and raisins and apples and tangerines.”

Margret Wise Brown interweaves varied sentence lengths with specific word choice and the Magic of Three.  The page layout is unique – almost like a poem, yet a narrative essay.  The lines stair-step down, guiding the reader’s voice and reflection.

The illustrations by Anne Mortimer compliment the text so richly. (I found that Anne Mortimer has illustrated many cat books. )  The two-page layout is very creative.  The left page’s illustrations flank the text as columns.  The right page is a complete illustration of the cat and her view of the setting.  The only page that isn’t like that is the middle.  Only two lines are highlighted:  “She saw it!  She saw the sleigh go jingling by.”  Enjoy this delightful book!

Savorings for reading and in writing for A Pussycat’s Christmas:

  • Voice – talks to the reader; the use of questions and varied sentences invite the reader to respond
  • Question Lead – “It was Christmas.  How could you tell?
  • Font Manipulation – adds to the illustrations and brings the sound to life
  • Transitions – the text flows so smoothly
  • Sensory Description