One of my favorite parts of my job is placing new books in the hands of teachers and kids. Every once in awhile, I stumble upon an older title that for whatever reason, the teachers I work with haven’t seen. After looking for transitional chapter books with some first-grade teachers and they (and their classes) falling in love with John Himmelman’s Bunjitsu Bunny, I found out, none of them had read his beyond charming Katie Loves the Kittens.
I discovered Katie a few years ago in my kindergarten classroom when I was searching for books to help teach my sprouts about self-control – a trait most five-year-olds certainly have not begun to explore, let alone master. In Kate Loves the Kittens, Katie, a sweet dog is excited when her owner brings home three adorable kittens. The trouble is, Katie is so enthusiastic about her new siblings, she ends up scaring them every time she sees them. Through the course of the book, Katie makes a lot of bad decisions, but ultimately (spoiler alert), redeems herself in the end.
As I shared this book with teachers and kids, I noticed, no matter how many times I read it (five times in the last few weeks) – I never tired of Katie. Children are enamored with her too – probably because they relate so well to the clash between wanting to behave and wanting to go nuts from time to time.
When Katie finally wakes up with the kittens asleep on her and is able to hold back her hysteria, the look on the students’ faces when they see the look on Katie’s face is priceless. Katie is literally gnashing her teeth and wagging her tail to hold herself back. Of course five, six, and seven-year-olds can relate, but I saw a few teachers nodding their heads too.
Who hasn’t had that feeling, that itch, you want to scratch, but know, for whatever reason, you can’t. We’ve all got a little Katie inside of us.