Binx is the new cat in town. He is anxious to make friends and heads to the nearby woods to explore. Three cats confront him, each with something unkind to say about Binx's shortcomings. While Jinx is still reeling from what the cats said, Gin steps forward and confronts the bullies. Then the two go off to explore the woods.
The cover instantly drew me in, and I like how the author used bright colors to counteract a sad theme: bullying. My favorite page is the illustration of Binx and the self-talk in his head. That is an excellent discussion starter. When I started reading, I was excited about the text layout and large print. It looked like a book that could double as an advanced easy reader (second or early third grade). The smooth cadence of the rhyme also helped. Then, about halfway through, the rhyme scheme fell apart, with longer sentences with bigger words. Within the poem, the author describes emotions, including meanness, panic, hurt, sadness, anxiety, and confusion. The simplicity of the art doesn't bring those concepts from the page. Although she described the three cats as "looking so mean and full of wrath," the cats' faces seemed expressionless.
Young readers (cat lovers or not) will instantly love Binx and cheer Gin. They'll also be attracted to the bright colors and illustrations.
The rhyme starts out well, but about halfway through begins to falter.
A rhyming poem tells the story of a cat trying to make friends in a new town.
Ask your reader what they think of themselves. What names do they call themselves when something goes well? or not so well? What names have they been called. With older kids you can ask them to write them down as speech bubbles.
Then go to the page with Binx and the self talk bubbles around his head. Why does Binx think this way? Are these things true? If not, why does he believe them. This is a great opportunity to explain "negative self talk" and brainstorm ways to counter it in a healthy way.
7 to 10
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