|Image from MichaelEmberley.com|
A young cat climbs into bed to read his/her favorite book. As the cat begins to nod off, the book slips off the bed and it’s gone! The cat can’t find it anywhere and begins imagining all the horrible things that could have happened to the book. Did a bear eat it? Did a dinosaur step on it? Did a shark swallow it? The cat knows sleep won’t happen without the book, so he/she searches all over the house and finally finds it under the bed. The cat snuggles into bed to read the precious book and before long he/she is snoring away.
The text in this book is brief and the cat speaks directly to the reader, making this a great book for toddlers and preschool children. The illustrations take center stage in this imaginative book and several of the pages are wordless. The protagonist, who could be male or female, is decked out in striped pajamas and expresses fear and joy with equal enthusiasm. Another great detail is that all the animals accused of taking the book are also stuffed animals on the bed.
When you read this book out loud make sure to spend enough time on the wordless pages. Ask the kids what’s happening on each page and what’s different from the previous one. If the kids figure out that the book is actually hidden below the bed they will be engaged for the rest of the story telling the cat to look under the bed.
After you read the book ask the kids to name their favorite book. You can also brainstorm other animals and what they might have done if they took the book. What would a giraffe do with a book? A crocodile? A kangaroo? The Inspired Apple blog has a fun Maybe a Bear Ate It printable that can be used to extend this discussion into an activity.
If you’re telling this at the library have a book hunt after reading storytime. This idea was brought to my attention in the book, The Storytime Sourcebook II, by Carolyn N. Cullum and originally published in the book, It’s Great to Be Three: The Encyclopedia of Activities for Three-Year-Olds, edited by Kathy Charmer and Maureen Murphy. Make sure to get the name of each child as they enter for storytime and have a helper write the names on post-it notes, attach each one to a different book, and hide the books in the library. Tell the kids there is a book with their name on it somewhere in the library. You may want to restrict the hunt to the kids section of the library so other patrons aren't disturbed.