Timeless Thursday: Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag
April 8, 2010 in Books with Health Content, Elementary Educators, Gag Wanda, Making Personal Connections, Personal Connections, Picture Book, Preschool to 1st grade teachers, Timeless Thursdays Tags: Millions of Cats, Timeless Thursday, Wanda Gag
Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag is near and dear to my heart because I starred as the old woman in a play my first grade class did about this book in 1978. (Okay, now I know you are all adding up my age!) Anyway, I remember my teacher, Mrs. Burney, reading us this book, choosing the parts, creating the scenery–including the old man and woman’s house, dressing up in costumes, and inviting our parents and other classes to the performance. This memory stands out in my first grade year, and so I thought I had to share this book for a Timeless Thursday post.
Here’s a brief synopsis of the book from Amazon.com Review:
“Millions of Cats is a wonderful tale of vanity versus humility, written and illustrated by the singular Wanda Gag. An old man and his wife decide to get a cat, so the old man goes out in search of the prettiest cat of all. When he is forced to choose from “hundreds, thousands, millions and billions and trillions” of cats, he (naturally) brings them all home. When the wife points out their inability to support the legion of felines, it is left to the cats to decide who among them is the prettiest. Anyone who has ever owned more than a single cat can tell you what happens next.
Gag’s simple, appealing black ink drawings are perfect for the story, somehow capturing at least the idea of millions of cats in a single page. Repeated lines and the sing-song title refrain make this a read-aloud natural.(Ages 4 to 8)”
Millions of Cats won a Newbery Honor award in 1929; and according to Wikipedia (so check your sources), it is the oldest picture book still in print.
This book can really get you and your students (or children) thinking. You can ask several questions such as: “What does it mean to be the prettiest?” “Who should decide who is the prettiest?” “Is being the prettiest most important?” “What can be more important than being pretty?” The end of the book is wonderful when the old man and woman find a skinny cat that survived because it didn’t consider itself pretty. Discuss with children why this cat survives, why the man and woman take it back in, and what happens to the cat with some love.
In a world where children are often exposed to the over-importance of material objects and beauty in the media, Millions of Cats, from 1929, reminds us what is really important. It’s great to read a book that can do that!