Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Let's make a deal

I overheard two of my daughters negotiating earlier this evening. One wanted the other to start helping her out with something after school every day and they were working on a price. They considered whether caring for the dog was a suitable price. WHAT?! They adore our dog but take care of him? Not so much. The one responsibility we have divided among the girls is to make his dinner every night. One daughter was now offering to take over dinner duty once a week for her sister. In the end they decided it wasn't a sufficient price and I think they settled on weekly massages or something like that. But the poor dog! When we first got him, we thought it would be a great opportunity to teach the kids some responsibility. While I still believe getting our beloved Levy was one of the soundest and most wonderful decisions we ever made, I have to admit that things never really panned out on the responsibility end of things. It's no secret who does the most for the dog and I'm surprisingly OK with that. I like to think that, in return, he loves me best but the truth is that he loves us all and I wouldn't change that even if I could. I still think pets are a great opportunity to teach kids responsibility and fully support any parents who see that plan through.

Though I have become a dog person, I have a brother who is a cat person and that's good enough for a segue to today's book pick, Nick Bruel's Bad Kitty vs. Uncle Murray.  The Bad Kitty books sprinkle scientific/fun facts, generally about cats, throughout the stories. The facts in this one consider cats' stranger anxiety.  Uncle Murray comes to take care of Bad Kitty and Puppy while their owners go away. Uncle Murray and Bad Kitty ("goofy cat") do not click. My favorite part is The Kitty Diaries - diary entries from Bad Kitty after the pets run into a closet to hide from the "monster". We learn that they're in there for 20 minutes but to Bad Kitty it seems like several weeks of torture. When the pets' owners return, Uncle Murray seems to have had a breakdown and mumbles about what nice pets fish make.

There is a fabulous site with book reviews called Sweet on Books that provides a terrific review of this book and even includes discussion questions to engage young readers beyond the book. This site has my favorite description of the Bad Kitty character: "Kitty is part drama queen and part neurotic prone to fits of delusions that are sidesplittingly funny". So true! If your child loves this book, remember to vote at

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