Cat Storytime

Printable Copy, including mask piece templates


Kids love correcting grown-ups. You have to be a good "straight man" to carry off reading this book well.My Cat, The Silliest Cat in the World by Gilles Bachelet (Ages 4-9)

The narrator talks about his silly cat, who behaves rather like a typical cat—but the illustrations show an elephant. This is particularly hilarious when the elephant takes certain characteristically feline poses, like bathing himself with a leg in the air, or sleeping on top of the television. Inevitably, at least one child will shout "that's an elephant!" Whatever you do, don't break character; frown and tell them "No, see, it says here it's a picture of his cat. C-A-T." This only works if you're comfortable being the straight-man and letting the kids be the ones "in on" the joke" you seem not to get.


Cleo’s Color Book by Stella Blackstone (Baby-5)

A curious orange-striped kitten goes out to explore and sees things of different colors.

Top Cat by Lois Ehlert (Ages 3-8)

A self-satisfied cat’s sedate daily life is shaken up when a new kitten arrives. After fighting the kitten and asserting his dominance, the top cat teaches the new kitten the ropes. Illustrated in Ehlert’s trademark painted collage.

Feathers For Lunch by Lois Ehlert (Ages 1-8)

The cat’s gotten out and wants something a little wilder than canned food for lunch. Fortunately, the neighborhood birds hear his bell jingling, and the cat catches only a few feathers. Works nicely with toddler groups and preschoolers.


The Good Luck Cat by Joy Harjo, Illustrated by Paul Lee (Ages 7-9)

“My aunt Shelly from Oklahoma says some cats are good luck. You pet them and good things happen. There aren’t many in the world. Maybe one in millions and billions. Woogie is a good luck cat.” If cats have nine lives, Woogie has spent hers pretty quickly. The little girl who cares for Woogie tells the story of Woogie’s eight close-calls: when she climbed up into Mom’s car near the motor, the time she was trapped in the clothes dryer... Then Woogie goes missing, and the girl is heartbroken. Has the good luck cat finally run out of luck? Paul Lee’s warm acrylic illustrations bring the cat and family to life.


Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes (Ages 2-6)

The first time Kitten sees the full moon, she thinks it’s a bowl of milk and spends the evening trying to get to it. Will stretch down to quieter baby lap-sit groups if you skip a few strategic pages to shorten it.


The Secret Life of Walter Kitty by Barbara Jean Hicks (Ages 5-9)

Walter’s real name is FANG, but his unimaginative owners call him “Wally,” “kitten” and “Walter.” The illustrations show Walter’s vivid inner-life, but readers will understand why, when catnip, food, or a good chin rub is offered, this cat admits “Okay, so once in a good long while, I answer to ‘Wally.’”

Nine Naughty Kittens by Linda Jennings (Ages 2-6)

Nine frisky kittens join and play in this rhymed counting book, with short pages flipping back to reveal new kittens.


Cat Count by Betsy Lewin (Ages 3-8)

“I have one cat. A fat cat, A fun cat.” As the counting book progresses, each relative and acquaintance has progressively more cats: “jive cats, very much alive cats” “reveling cats, prowling cats and yowling cats, howling-tp-high-heaven cats” “great cats, proper and sedate cats, seldom ever late cats.” Periodically, the count is interrupted to add up the number of cats so far. At the end, how many are there? “Too many cats!” Betsy Lewin’s amiably comic illustrations are as much a delight as ever, bringing the cats’ very different personalities vividly to life in each cartoonish and personable feline.


Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes! by Eric Litwin, Illustrated by James Dean (2-8)

"Pete the cat was walking down the street in his brand-new white shoes. Pete loved his white shoes so much he sang this song: 'I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes.'" But as anyone who's ever had white shoes knows, they don't stay white for long. As this jazzy blue cat moseys along, he walks through various piles and puddles that turn his shoes all sorts of colors. "Did he cry? Goodness, no! He walked along, singing his song: I love my red shoes... I love my blue shoes... I love my brown shoes..." "And the moral of Pete's story is, no matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song/ 'Cause it's all good!" Make sure you sing Pete's song and maximize that nasty squelching sound whenever he steps in something!

Be Gentle! by Virginia Miller (Ages 1-8)

“One day George gave Bartholomew a little black kitten. ‘She’s yours to look after,’ he said. ‘I’ll help, but be gentle because she’s only little.’” Toddler Bartholomew’s ideas of "gentle" are a bit different from the poor kitten’s: he hugs the kitten, pushes her on the swing and gives her “a surprise with the garden hose.” Bartholomew’s attempt to cheer up the kitten by playing his drum doesn’t go much better, and the kitten scampers away to hide. Heartbroken, Bartholomew goes to sit “in his secret hiding place...” which, of course, is where the little black kitten is crouched, looking apprehensive at the little bear’s arrival. This time, though, “Bartholomew was very, very gentle, and the little black kitten purred.”


Puss In Boots by Charles Perrault, translated by Malcolm Arthur, Illustrated by Fred Marcellino! (Ages 4+)

This stripy, saucy marmalade is the slyest, tricksiest swashbuckler ever to don Musketeer boots or twirl a whisker. Malcolm Arthur's translation is both accessible and faithful to the wit of the original trickster tale, but the true star here is the lifelike colored pencil illustrations of Louis XIV France, and of our seductively swaggering feline. Undoubtedly, the talented artists at Dreamworks had Fred Marcellino's Caldecott-nominee in mind when they created their own version of Puss for Shrek.


Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein, Illustrated by Ed Young (Ages 6-10)

According to a note preceding the text: “Wabi Sabi is a way of seeing the world that is at the heart of Japanese culture. It finds beauty and harmony in what is simple, imperfect, natural, modest, and mysterious. It can be a little dark, but it is also warm and comfortable. It may be best understood as a feeling, rather than an idea.” Wabi Sabi is a cat who has never considered the meaning of his name. When some foreign visitors ask her master what “Wabi Sabi” means, the master replies only “That’s hard to explain.” Mystified, Wabi Sabi takes a walk-about in search of her name's meaning, at last returning home as a perfect embodiment of Wabi Sabi. Each creature she meets hesitates before giving a different explanation. On each page, the explanation is one of the haiku of Basho. Gorgeous, texture-rich multimedia collages by Ed Young complement the thoughtful tale beautifully. Exquisite!


A Kitten Tale by Eric Rohmann (Ages 3-8)

Four little kittens who have never seen snow discuss the cold white stuff over three seasons. Three kittens agree that snow scares them: it’s cold and wet and will cover everything! But the fourth kitten answers the worried anticipation of the others with “I can’t wait.” Finally, winter arrives and snow falls. Three kittens hide, but the fourth has so much fun frolicking outside in the snow, that the other three finally join him. A sweet, gentle story for winter.


Skippyjon Jones: Up And Down by Judith Byron Schachner (Baby & Toddler)

Opposites with a hyperactive Siamese cat: “Every day, Skippyjon Jones bounces up and down./ He zooms back and forth…


There Are Cats In This Book by Vivane Schwarz (Ages 1-8)

“The cats aren’t on this page/… they’re on the next page. They’d love to play with you. They’re very friendly.” Die-cut pages and flaps change the scenes and the positions of characters in this adorably innovative book. Lifting a blanket flap wakes the three purring protagonists, who address the reader directly: “Hello. Who are YOU?/Are you NICE?/You LOOK nice./And STRONG. /Could you turn a whole PAGE?/Because there’s YARN on the next page. LOOK!” A delightfully personal, interactive book for one-on-one laptime, and a wonderfully engaging choice for younger groups in storytime.


Hero Cat by Eileen Spinelli, Illustrated by Jo Ellen McAllister Stammen (Ages 4-9)

“It was March. Cold and slushy. Time for Mother Cat to have her kittens.” Unfortunately, the only place this cat can find to give birth is a dusty abandoned warehouse. She gives birth to five kittens. “Mother Cat nursed and cuddled them. She purred starry lullabies and licked clean their silky fur.”After a few days, though, she gets hungry and has to leave her kittens to look for food. When she comes back, the building is on fire. “Plunging through thick smoke, she ran inside. She heard frightened mewing.” Five times, she runs into the burning building and brings back a kitten. Based on the true story of Scarlett, who pulled her five kittens from a burning building in New York in 1996, this book always makes me a little teary. An author’s note on the event, and a photo of Scarlett with her kittens are included at the end. The text is a little lengthy, but understated, with a dramatic plot that makes it easy to adapt for younger audiences. Kids love heroic true animal stories. (Who doesn't?)


Cookie’s Week by Cindy Ward (Baby-4)

Cookie is a black and white kitten who brings a new sort of mayhem and mess to the house each day of the week. The sparse, toddler-friendly text and clean, humourous de Paola illustrations bring the mischievous kitten to life in a way that makes it accessible to the youngest listeners. Use the home-made “big” book by my desk.


Uncle Andy’s Cats by James Warhola (4-9+)

“Uncle Andy” happens to be James Warhola’s famous Uncle, Andy Warhol, and this delightfully over-the-top story is based on real events in the life of that equally over-the-top individual. “Uncle Andy said it all started with a little blue pussycat named Hester. ‘She was just a kitty when I got her from a fabulous movie star called Gloria.’” Eventually, Uncle Andy and Bubba decided to get a companion for Hester: Sam. “It was love at first sight.” Of course, soon there were kittens… then more kittens, stampeding up and down the stairs of the narrow city house, causing mayhem. What to do with all those cats?


Cat Jumped In! by Tess Weaver (Ages 4-8)

“It was summer, and someone left the window open. The cat jumped in!” The curious black-and-white feline sniffs and prowls his way through the house, leaving a trail of chaos in his wake, but possibly finding a new friend.


Cats! Cats! Cats! by B. Wiseman (Ages 3-7)

“Miss Kittikat was a lady who loved cats. One day she found a kitten who had no home. He looked tired and hungry. ‘Come with me,’ she said. ‘I will take good care of you!’ / This was not the first cat Miss Kittikat had taken home. When she opened the door, fifteen other cats meowed, ‘Hello!’” Of course, that isn’t the last lonely little kitten Miss Kittikat takes pity on. Soon her house is overflowing, and she and her friend, Mr. Hardhammer, go to extreme lengths to come up with extra space to house all the cats. Eventually, all ends well when they begin advertising “CATS! CATS! CATS! Give a cat a HAPPY HOME!!” “Miss Kitticat still brings home cats. But now there is a home for every one.”


Here’s A Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters (Babies +)

p. 32 “Cat Kisses” by Bobbi Katz


Cat Songs


“Everybody Wants to Be a Cat” (2:03) Sung by Phil Harris. Track 4 on
Songs from the Aristocats. CD. Walt Disney Records, 1970, 1996.


“The Cat Came Back” (2:46) Track 14 on
Berkner, Laurie. Whaddaya Think Of That?. CD. Two Tomatoes Records, 2000.

“Emily Miller” Track 11 (0:50) on
Covert, Ralph. Ralph’s World. CD. Burbank,Cal. : Disney Sound, 2006.

“Kitty Kat, Kitty Kat” (4:41) Track 12 on
Roberts, Justin. Great Big Sun. CD. Burbank,Cal. : Disney Sound, 2006.



I Know a Little Pussy

I know a little pussy,
Her coat is silver-gray.
She lives down in the meadow,
Not very far away.
She’ll always be a pussy,
She’ll never be a cat;
That’s because she’s a pussy willow!
Now what do you think of that?



Cat Rhymes


Cat Kisses
 By Bobbi Katz from Here’s A Little Poem

Sandpaper kisses
On a cheek or a chin
That is the way
For a day to begin!

Sandpaper kisses
A cuddle, a purr.
I have an alarm clock
Covered with fur.
--Bobbi Katz



I love little pussy,
Her coat is so warm,
And if I don’t hurt her,
She’ll do me no harm.
So, I’ll not pull her tail,
And she won’t run away,
But pussy and I
Very gently will play.

Demonstrate behavior on a puppet



Pussycat, Pussycat

Do as a dialog with cat puppet
Pussycat, Pussycat, where have you been?
I’ve been to London to see the Queen.
Pussycat, Pussycat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair!



Pussy cat, pussy cat, Wilt Thou Be Mine?

Pussy cat, pussy cat,
Wilt thou be mine?
Though shalt not wash dishes
Nor feed yet the swine,
But sit on a cushion
And sew a fine seam
And feed upon strawberries,
Sugar and cream.



This Kitty

This kitty said, “I smell a mouse.”
This kitty said, “Let’s hunt through the house.”
This kitty said, “Let’s go creepty creep.”
This kitty said, “Is the mouse asleep?”
This kitty said, “Meow, meow,
I saw it go through a hole just now.”
This works well with puppets or with felt forms on a flannel board.


Hey Diddle Diddle

Hey diddle diddle
The cat and the fiddle
The cow jumped over the moon
The little dog laughed
To see such a sight
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
This works wonderfully as a flannel board rhyme.


Great A

Great A, little a,
Bouncing letter B,
The cat’s in the cupboard
And can’t see me! 


Cat Crafts

Cat Mask

Supplies Needed:
  • Paper Plates
  • Pink & Orange Construction Paper or Cardstock
  • Orange & Yellow Crepe Paper
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Scissors
  • *Art knife (Optional: this makes it easier to carve out the eye-holes of the mask, but one time-saving alternative is to simply color in the eyes instead of making a proper mask.)
Ahead of Time:

It's up to you weather you want to trim the paper plates into rounded triangles in advance or let the kids do it. I like having the kids cut paper, but the plates are thick enough that I make a point of trimming them in advance, at least for children under 7.

  1. Outline cat eyes and the column of the cat's nose on each plate with a fine-tip marker.
  2. Depending on the age-group of your participants, cut the base of the plate into a rounded triangle.
  3. Use a pen or thick needle to poke whisker-holes in each paper plate around the base of the cat's muzzle.
  4. Print out cat ears, ear liners and noses on colored paper from PDFs. I like to encourage preschoolers and gradeschoolers to use their scissor skills, but it's nice to have at least a few of these shapes pre-cut for toddlers, younger preschoolers or disabled participants.
During Craft-Time:
  1.  Once each mask is cut as shown, have the kids cover their masks with a light layer of glue. A shared dish of white glue with several popsicle-sticks to use for spreading works pretty well. If you'd like to avoid mess, especially with younger groups, glue sticks work fine, too.
  2. Have kids tear strips of crepe paper into "cat stripes" and lay them on top of the glue, tucking the edges around the rim of the plate. 
  3. Cut out ears & ear liners, and glue the pink ear liners inside the larger outer ears. You'll probably need to come around with a stapler to attach the ears to the plates, unless you have time to leave the ears clamped on with binder clips while a healthy coat of white glue dries.
  4. Cut out and glue on the cats' noses.



Cat Bag

 Supplies Needed:
  • Paper Lunch Bags
  • Pink Cardstock or Construction Paper
  • Cotton Balls
  • Crayons or Colored Pencils
  • Scissors

 I found this charming craft idea at


Cat Bibliography


Bachelet, Gilles. My Cat, The Silliest Cat in the World. New York: Abrams Books For Young Readers, 2004, 2006.

Blackford, Stella. Cleo’s Color Book. Cambridge, Mass.: Barefoot Books, 2006.

Ehlert, Lois. Feathers For Lunch. San Diego, Ca.: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1990.

Ehlert, Lois. Top Cat. San Diego, Ca.: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1998.

Harjo, Joy. The Good Luck Cat. Illustrated by Paul Lee. Orlando: Harcourt, Inc.: 2000.

Henkes, Kevin. Kitten’s First Full Moon. New York: Greenwillow Books-HarperCollinsPublishers, 2004.

Hicks, Barbara Jean. The Secret Life of Walter Kitty. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007.

Jennings, Linda. Nine Naughty Kittens. Waukesha, Wis.: Little Tiger Press, 1999.

 Lewin, Betsy. Cat Count. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1981, 2003.

Litwin, Eric (aka Mr. Eric). Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes. Illustrated by James Dean. New York: Harper-HarperCollins Publishers, 2010.

Miller, Virginia. Be Gentle! Cambridge, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 1997.

Perrault, Charles. Puss In Boots. trans. by Malcolm Arthur, Illustrated by Fred Marcellino.Michael DiCapua Books-Farrar Straus Giroux, 1990.

Reibstein, Mark. Wabi Sabi. Illustrated by Ed Young. New York: Little, Brown & Company, 2008.

Rohmann, Eric. A Kitten Tale. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008.

Schachner, Judy. Skippyjon Jones: Up And Down. New York: Dutton Children’s Books-Penquin Young Readers’ Group, 2007.

Schwarz, Viviane. There Are Cats In This Book. Cambridge, Mass: Candlewick Press, 2008.

Spinelli, Eileen. Hero Cat. Illustrated by Jo Ellen McAllister Stammen. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Children.

Ward, Cindy. Cookie’s Week. Illustrated by Tomie de Paola. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons-Penguin Young Reader’s Group, 1988.

Warhola, James. Uncle Andy’s Cats. New York : G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2009.

Weaver, Tess. The Cat Jumped In! Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully. New York: Clarion Books, 2007.

Wiseman, B. Cats! Cats! Cats! Milwaukee : Gareth Stevens Publishing, 1993.

Yolen, Jane and Andrew Fusek-Peters, eds. Here’s A Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry. Illustrated by Polly Dunbar. Cambridge: Candlewick Press, 2007.