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Hero Cat

Hero Cat

by Eileen Spinelli, Jo Ellen McAllister Stammen (Illustrator)

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Award-winning book about a mother cat saving her five kittens


Award-winning book about a mother cat saving her five kittens

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
A real hero cat inspired this story of a brave mother. The reader becomes more emotionally involved by Stammen's naturalistic pastel illustrations. Looking for a safe place to have her kittens on a nasty March day, Mother Cat is shooed away everywhere. She finally settles on some old rags in a cold, abandoned building, and gives birth to five very individual kittens. When she has to leave them to find food, she returns to find the building on fire. She rescues four kittens, one after another, fighting the smoke and the flames. When she returns for the fifth, she cannot hear or smell him, but manages to stumble over him, bring him out, and collapse. Fortunately she and the kittens are brought together to safety by the firefighters. A visual narrative parallels the text, but is designed to generate much more emotion. The text "tells," but the images show the overt actions while stirring our feelings. We are told that Mother Cat carries out her kittens, but seeing her emerge from the smoky haze with a kitten in her mouth compels us to feel her maternal devotion. We can admire the photograph of the real hero cat that accompanies the author's note. But it does not compare to the twice-life-size, almost touchable cat that grabs our attention across the front and back of the book. 2006, Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, Ages 3 to 6.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Spinelli bases this story on a 10-year-old news story about a stray cat that rescued her kittens from a fire. She begins by constructing a history for the cat and builds empathy toward her as she tries, unsuccessfully, to find a place to give birth to her kittens. She is hissed at by an old Tom in a garage, then shooed out of a shed, but finally finds a home in an abandoned building. Later, while she is on a food-finding expedition, it catches on fire, and she arrives home just in time to pull the kittens to safety. Basing a story on a true event has its limitations. While the fire and the cat's rescue mission will be inherently exciting to children, the text does not have the depth of a well-constructed story. A photograph of the real Scarlett after her ordeal is included. The author lets readers know that the mother cat and her kittens found loving homes in the end. Stammen's realistic illustrations are rendered in pastel and are wonderfully textured. While the animal isn't as bedraggled or injured as the real one was, children will understand her heroism as she repeatedly makes her way through flames and fire. While this is not a must-have title for most libraries, it is a good additional purchase, especially suited for read-alouds on themes of heroism, cats, and even Mother's Day.-Carol L. MacKay, Forestburg School Library, Alberta, Canada Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Amazon Childrens Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.40(d)
AD430L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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