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donnaodonnellfigurski.com - THAT CAT CAN'T STAY

That Cat Can’t Stay
Written by Thad Krasnesky
Illustrated by David Parkins

Publisher: Flashlight Press
ISBN: 0979974658
Ages: 5 to 7

Review and Lessons Plans by Donna O'Donnell Figurski

I can totally understand the father in That Cat Can’t Stay. That would be my view too. I am not a cat lover. I do admit, however, that the cats were cute … on paper … within the confines of the pages of this book, but no cats for me … thank you. No dogs for that matter either or rabbits or mice or birds. Well, I did have a bird when I was a child and a turtle, too, but those days are over.

I admired Mom’s wily and crafty ways as she perfected her skill of wrapping Dad around her finger. That mom tugged on his heartstrings. How could Dad possible put a cat out in the rain? And that poor calico – it was going to starve to death, wasn’t it? Surely, Dad couldn’t send it to the hereafter on an empty stomach. And anyone would help a cat that was hit by a car … like the ginger kitty was. Even I would do that.

So what was Dad supposed to do? Of course, he did what any good dad would … he allowed the cats to stay until the rain stopped, until the kitty was properly fed, and until ginger kitty’s leg mended. That Mom … she was a clever one! She sure was! She knew what she was doing. And those cats just stayed and stayed and stayed even though they scratched Dad’s knees, carried fleas, and ate his cheese. Poor Dad!

Thad Krasnesky and David Parkins team up to make a very funny book, which will have children cheering Mom on. Kids will have fun joining in on the repetitive, rhyming parts, too. And they just might learn a little about using reverse psychology … on their own parents.

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“There’s a family and Mom found a cat,” said Tala.

“It was a broken cat,” said Caden.
“Then she found one cat in the rain,” said Daisy.

“And Dad said, ‘Well, we’ll let that cat stay, but not for long,’” explained Juliana.

“Mom was bringing cats back every single day,” said Caden.

“But Dad did not like cats,” said Abby.

“They carry fleas,” said Caden sticking up for Dad.

“And they scratch his knees,” explained Brayden.

Juliana nodded. “Dad probably got hurt from cats,” she said. “Then Mom would rescue another cat and Dad would say, ‘That cat can’t stay, but Mom brought the cat home anyway,’” said Juliana.

“Maybe she just took the cats because she had no one to talk to,” said Lucy.

Callie shook her head.  “What Mom really wanted was to have a cat – lots of them,” said Callie. “But I bet she was just making Dad crazy for all the cats she was finding and saving,” she added with a giggle.

“Dad always said, “Well, we’ll let that cat stay, but not for long,” said Juliana.

“But … Dad, said, “Well!” said Diego as he drew out the word to sound like this, w-e-e-e-e-l-l-l. (And then the cats always stayed.)

“Mom was trying to trick Dad to keep the cats – as many as she could find. She would give him a reason so she could keep the cat, but he said, ‘No’ and she still kept them,” said Tala.

Brayden nodded, “Mom got all the cats by using psychology,” he said.

“Reverse psychology,” proclaimed Daisy.

“Reverse Psychology is like … you can trick someone,” said Tala.

“To get what you want,” said Juliana. “There was a lot of reverse psychology in this book.”

“I think the Mom was pretty smart,” said Mikaela.  “She kept going with what the father said so he would feel guilty and then she could keep the cat,” she explained.

“Mom was trying to convince Dad,” said Lucy.

Caden shook his head. “But Dad wants the cats outside,” he said.

“I like how the mother uses reverse psychology to get what she wants,” said Juliana. “The mother is really, really good at doing that.”

“I wish my mom would do reverse psychology … on my dad,” said Lucy with a smile and a giggle.


A Cat Is: Language Arts/Science

Cats are cute. They can be loving and mysterious. Their fur, soft and downy, makes you want to tickle them. They can be sneaky, too, and pesky; and they are definitely finicky eaters. There are so many words to describe cats. Make an A to Z list with your class to list all the words they can think of to describe them. I’ve listed a lot below to help you. (Sorry, I couldn’t think of descriptions that begin with X. If you think of any, let me know.)

A    active, affectionate, alert, athletic, almond-shaped eyes,
B    black, brown, bushy-tailed,
C    calm, curly hair, curious, cuddly, claws
D    domestic, downy-coat
E    ears, energetic, even-tempered, eyes, easy-going,
F    furry, friendly, fluffy, feline, fussy, finicky
G    green-eyed, glossy, golden, gentle, graceful,
H    hardy,
I    inquisitive, independent
J    jumpy
K    kitten
L    long-haired, lively, loving, litter box, lazy
M    mellow, mysterious, meow
N    nervous
O    orange eyes,
P    playful, plush, proud, purr, pets, pesky, picky
Q    quiet, queenly
R    ruddy, racy, restless
S    soft, spotted, short-haired, scary, silky, sleek, sweet, slinky, sneaky
T    tail, temperament, tan, tufted ears, tufted toes,
U    ugly, upbeat
V    velvety
W    wild, whiskers, white,
Y    yellow, yawning
Z    zesty, zippy, zappy, zany

Name a Cat: Language Arts/Writing/Science

First have children name as many cats as they can think of.  Start with the ones from the book That Cat Can’t Stay. List them on a chart.


Add others.

Main Coon

Then have the children use the list from the lesson above to construct Acrostic Poems. Acrostic poems use each letter in the topic word as the beginning letter of a new word to describe the topic. See examples below.

Use this site for more information on writing acrostic poems.
Acrostics for Children

C ats can be
A thletic
L oveable,
I nquisitive, and
C ute with
O range eyes

C ats are
A ffectionate and
L ively. They can be
I ndependent and
C uddly and sometimes
O rnery

P layful
E nergetic
R are
S hort-haired
I nquisitive
A ffectionate
N ervous

(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

CFA: For Kids About Cats
Math Cats
Cats and Kids
Cat Breed Descriptions


I Always, ALWAYS Get My Way written by Thad Krasnesky; illustrated by David Parkins
Dewey: There's a Cat in the Library! written by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter; illustrated by Steve James
How Many Cats? written by Lauren Thompson; illustrated by Robin Eley
The Best Cat written and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev
If You Give a Cat a Cupcake written and illustrated by Laura Numeroff
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All contents copyright (c) 2002. Donna O'Donnell Figurski.
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