Cat Power

by Daniel Kirk
Hyperion, 2007
Cat Power

Book Description
Cat fanciers, take heed! Cat Power is the follow-up to Daniel Kirk’s hit book of poems and songs, Dogs Rule! Eighteen poems about our feline friends are accompanied by funny and touching illustrations, as well as a CD with all the poetry turned into songs. Anybody who has ever wondered what a cat really thinks about will find this book amusing and informative. Subjects include hunting, scratching posts, the pleasures of birds and butterflies, sitting on laps and balls of yarn, as well as the terrors of a trip to the vet and a dirty litterbox.

 Reviews of Cat Power

Review from School Library Journal
Gr 1-4 A companion to Dogs Rule! (Hyperion, 2003). Through 18 poems, Kirk explores all aspects of a cat’s life, from the joy of playing with a ball of string, to the distress of a dirty litter box, to the mortification of being made to walk on a leash. There is some experimenting with format-such as the dueling limericks of two Persians in competition at a cat show-but, for the most part, these are just silly and fun rhymes. The oversize format allows for big fonts and large-scale cartoons; Kirk’s felines are wide-eyed, cheeky, and utterly winning. The poems are great for reading or reciting aloud, and an 18-song CD is included. Youngsters who are ready to move to chapter books but are daunted by page counts would be more than comfortable tackling Cat Power with its effortless rhythm, accessible vocabulary, and over-the-top illustrations. Combine these selections with some classic cat stories for a feline funfest.-Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA

Review from Kirkus Reviews
Either a companion or counterpoint to Dogs Rule! (2003), these 18 poems celebrate the lovable quirks, reproach the annoying traits and acknowledge the different personalities of all kinds of cats. From historic to contemporary times, the first-person-make that first-cat-voices pulse with typical feline authority and superiority-e.g., one stanza from Butterflies: “My paw springs up, my claws a rake, / but swiping just for swiping sake; / my hunting skills, as sharp as nails, / I’ll save for crickets, ants, and snails.” The full-bleed illustrations are strikingly realistic, especially the cats’ eyes and fur texture. Covering the dreaded litter box, balls-of-string adventures, the scratching post and the dead-bird gift, there are purrs aplenty here for cat lovers. (CD) (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Daniel Kirk speaks about Cat Power:
After the success of my book, Dogs Rule, my editor at Hyperion asked me if I could write a bunch of poems about cats for a follow-up book.
[expand title=”Read More”] I thought it might be harder to write about cats than it was to write about dogs, but I found I had plenty of ideas and I wrote nearly forty poems, of which eighteen were chosen to be in the book. We tried to pick poems that showed the nice, friendly, inquisitive parts of cat’s personalities, and avoid their more predatory, solitary side. I did a lot of research, looking at dozens of books about cats, reading about their habits, history and health. I tried to make my illustrations realistic but kind of funny, too. Once I’d chosen the poems in the book, and I’d finished my illustrations, I set the poems to music. With the help of a lot of my musically-gifted friends, I recorded the tunes over several months in two different studios. It takes a long time to write poems, a long time to paint illustrations, and a really long time to record music! I was happy, though, that I got the chance to push myself in so many creative directions with Cat Power.

Many kids write to me and ask if I can make a book of poems about their pet, whether it’s a mouse, a rabbit or a snake. For this reason I was inspired to write another book of poems about all the other pets kids might own, including hamsters, birds, fish, horses, lizards and spiders, as well as puppies and kittens, and many more. So far I haven’t found a publisher for this book, but I hope to, soon![/expand]

Things to think about and do after reading/listening to Cat Power:

    1. How are cats different than dogs? America’s most popular pets have many similarities, but many differences, too. Are you a cat person or a dog person?

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    1. Try to put yourself in the place of a cat, sitting on a sunny windowsill, or stalking a bird or a mouse. Write your own poem about what it’s like to be a cat.
    2. Do you like to sing? Read one of the poems from Cat Power, and then make up a tune and sing it. You won’t come up with the perfect melody right away, but if you try, you’ll find you can make a song out of any poem. Singing a poem gives it a whole new meaning!
    3. When I was working on my book Dogs Rule, I did research about the many, many kinds of dogs there are. When I was researching cats, I discovered that there aren’t very many types! Look up cats on the internet or in the library, and see what strange types of cats exist, besides our domestic house cat. There are a few you may not have heard of or seen before. Also check out the different kinds of wild cats that exist. Pretty interesting stuff!

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