Pilgrim Cat

Pilgrim Cat

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by Carol Antoinette Peacock, Doris Ettlinger

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When young Pilgrim Faith Barrett discovers a stray cat on the Mayflower, she names her new friend Pounce. Together they face the long, cramped voyage and the perils of the first winter at the Plymouth colony.


When young Pilgrim Faith Barrett discovers a stray cat on the Mayflower, she names her new friend Pounce. Together they face the long, cramped voyage and the perils of the first winter at the Plymouth colony.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An excellent choice for units on the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving and for holiday picture-book collections."

School Library Journal

"Watercolor illustrations are delicate and accurately rendered, complementing the gentle but interesting Thanksgiving tale."

Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature
Before setting sail on the Mayflower, Faith Barrett notices a cat jumping onto the ship's deck. She adopts it during the voyage and names it Pounce. In turn, Pounce stays by Faith's side during her illness. Samoset and Squanto teach the Pilgrims how to hunt and what crops to plant. When Pounce disappears, it is Squanto who finds her and her five newborn kittens. The autumn harvest brings a bountiful crop, and the Pilgrims offer thanks for this and their new friends, the Wampanoag. Faith and Pounce will draw the reader into this fictionalized account of the first year at Plymouth Colony. Ettlinger's illustrations are full of details and present a range of perspectives of life on shipboard as well as at Plymouth that provide a strong sense of the time period. Peacock provides a reason for the Pilgrims' voyage, the difficulties they faced on shipboard and the challenges of their first year. This picture book is ideal for the Thanksgiving, Pilgrim, and colonial life curriculum units. 2004, Albert Whitman & Company, Ages 7 to 9.
—Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-With a mighty leap, a cat chases a mouse onto the deck of the departing Mayflower. Faith, who is sailing from England to the New World with her family, sees the feline and is captivated by it. This book follows their rough trip across the ocean, their arrival in Plymouth, and the building of the new colony. The girl's relationship with Pounce provides a familiar thread throughout the story of the first Thanksgiving. Although Faith had been taught to fear "the Natives," her prejudices are soon dispelled. The Wampanoag are depicted as respected teachers and friends who welcome the newcomers. With a pleasing variety of layouts and perspectives, Ettlinger's soft watercolors portray the setting and add emotion to the narrative. The attention-grabbing cover features the cat, large in the foreground, with a scene of settlement life in the background. Interesting details and a touch of old-fashioned language convey just the right amount of information to introduce readers to this part of history. An excellent choice for units on the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving and for holiday picture-book collections.-Mary Hazelton, Warren Community School, ME Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The Mayflower sailed in September 1620; in this imagined story, a young Pilgrim, Faith Barrett, and a cat were among the 55 passengers that made it to America. Sickness, moldy food, and rats plagued the trip, but overall the story is a gentle one that embraces friendship-of Faith and the cat and of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians. When the cat disappears for a few days and is later-and predictably-found with baby kittens, readers might wonder how that happened, since no other cats appear in the story. But the child's perspective, the inclusion of a cuddly warm cat, and the well-researched illustrations will bring readers back again and again. Watercolor illustrations are delicate and accurately rendered, complementing the gentle but interesting Thanksgiving tale. (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
Albert Whitman Prairie Paperback Ser.
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
10.75(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.10(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Pilgrim Cat

By Carol Antoinette Peacock, Doris Ettlinger


Copyright © 2004 Carol Antoinette Peacock
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8075-6533-9


My daughters discovered a cat playing at Plimoth Plantation, the wonderful living history museum of Pilgrim life in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Did cats come on the Mayflower, too, I wondered.

From my research, I learned that cats sailed with the Pilgrims to the New World. Here is the imagined story of one of them, a cat named Pounce.

Pounce's mistress, Faith Barrett, is based on the lives of real Pilgrim girls. There were eleven girls on the voyage, ranging in age from less than a year to sixteen or seventeen.

Squanto, who befriends Faith in this story, was a Wampanoag Native who lived with the Pilgrims during the first trying years. Without his help, the settlers might have perished. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, adults and children, skills they needed to survive in this new place.

Two brief accounts, written by the Pilgrims themselves, are all we know about what we now call the first Thanksgiving, which took place in the fall of 1621. Some scholars believe that rather than being invited to a harvest celebration, ninety Wampanoag and their leader, Chief Massasoit, arrived because they were alarmed by the sound of Pilgrims shooting wild fowl. Then they stayed to feast. We know that the gathering included games, shooting matches, and dancing and lasted for three days.

The Wampanoag often gave thanks for the Creator's bounty, both at ceremonies and in daily life. While there is no specific record in the Pilgrim accounts of a prayer given by their Native guests at the feast, it is possible that gratitude was formally expressed.


On a breezy September morning in 1620, a stray cat prowled the docks, hunting his breakfast. The cat spieda plump mouse. He pounced and missed. When the mouse escaped to a ship, the cat followed, landing on the ship's deck. The ship was called the Mayflower.

"A cat just jumped on our boat, Father!" Faith Barrett exclaimed as she waited with her family and the other passengers to sail.

"Every ship needs a few good mousers," said her father. "He'll catch the mice on board."

It was time to depart.

"Good-bye, England!" called Faith as the Mayflower set sail. The passengers were headed across the Atlantic, leaving all they loved behind. Faith's family and many others aboard were sailing to the New World so they could worship as they pleased.

At first, the weather was calm. Then the autumn storms came. One day The Mayflower began to pitch and roll. Faith's stomach reeled. She reached for a bucket and got sick.

Afterwards, Faith peered through the wooden grating over the "hold," where the food was stored. She looked down.

"The mouser!" she exclaimed.

The hungry cat was stalking a rat. Faith found some hard cheese that she had saved from supper and dropped it below. The cat batted the morsel with his paw. The he pounced.

"I shall name thee 'Pounce,'" she said.

After that, Faith looked for him, hunting alone or playing with the other cats. Every day, she fed him a piece of dried meat or fish from her own meal. Pounce began to wait for her.

When the storms had passed, families were allowed to go on deck. How good it was to breathe fresh air! Throwing back her head, Faith twirled around and around. Then dizzy, she looked at her feet.

"Pounce!" Faith said.

His eyes closed, his tiny face tilted upward, the cat was sun-ning himself nearby.

Faith scooped up the cat and brought him inside the ship.

"Thou art a beauty indeed!" she marveled.

Pounce purred.

"Oh, Pounce," said Faith, as she stroked his head. "This voyage is a trial! We are cold and so wet, even our blankets are soaked. We eat moldy cheese and biscuits filled with worms. And then the storms! I do fear we will perish at sea and never reach the New World."


Excerpted from Pilgrim Cat by Carol Antoinette Peacock, Doris Ettlinger. Copyright © 2004 Carol Antoinette Peacock. Excerpted by permission of ALBERT WHITMAN & Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Pilgrim Cat 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My daughter loves cats and this book incorporated the love she has for cats and a lesson on the origin of Thanksgiving!!!!!