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Summary: Carlos was nervous before he got to school, but then when his classmates laughed at him and the big cat picked on him, he was sad, too. Even though his mom tried to help him see how special he is, it didn't help. The next day, though, he shared his knowledge of the alphabet ... and all the cats realized he is special, too. This picture book helps kids see past the 'physical' to understand that we are all alike on the inside.
Type of Reading: playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 6; read yourself: 7 to 10
Interest Level: 3 to 8
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: There are LOTS of layers to this book. I thought it would be text-heavy and take too long to read for the audience (preschool / first grade) but it was perfect. I loved the way that the author introduces each character, weaves in some learning (ABCs), and friendship, too.
Pros: The bright, active illustrations will keep kids' attention while you read this story.
Cons: Personally, I found the bully cat's demeanor "too old" for the probable age of the students. I think the story would have been great even with the "you're not a real cat" toned down.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a book you could easily come back to those first few years of preschool through first grade.
Educational Themes: This book covers a lot of ground: from being nervous about school and making friends, to personal choice (the girls realize their mistake) and helping others. The author has a great set of questions to help engage young listeners in talking about the story.
Notes: The author donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book series, animal characters
Date(s) Reviewed: September 2012
Other Reviews: No Critics Reviews found; see reader feedback at amazon.com.