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Jenny and the Cat Club

Last updated Sunday, February 8, 2015

Author: Esther Averill
Date of Publication: 2003
ISBN: 1590170474
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2015

In Greenwich Village an orphaned black cat lives happily with her master, a sea captain. Still, the gentle Jenny Linsky would like nothing more than to join the local Cat Club, whose members include Madame Butterfly, an elegant Persian, the high-stepping Macaroni, and stately, plump Mr. President. But can she overcome her fears and prove that she, too, has a special gift?

Join Jenny and her friends, including fearless Pickles the Fire Cat, on their spirited downtown adventures and discover why The Atlantic Monthly called Jenny "a personality ranking not far below such giants as Peter Rabbit."

Note to readers:
•  Note: Read the Author’s note before the reading club. The author based her book/stories on “Jenny” a real cat who belonged to Captain Tinker. The author watched Jenny and other cats in the neighborhood gathering at a maple tree and playing in the garden. She based her stories from what she saw and from speaking to the different owners of the cats she saw playing. Let the kids know that “Jenny and the Cat Club” were real cats!

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  VOCABULARY: orphan –a child or animal whose parents are dead; heroine—a female hero; discouraged--to make (someone) less determined, hopeful, or confident; soprano--the highest female singing voice or a person with this voice; emblem—an object used as an identifying mark
•  Do you have a best friend? Who are they? What is they like?
•  Do you have pets as friends?
•  Have you ever belonged to a “club”? What do you think people or animals do in a club?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How do you think Jenny felt at her first meeting of the Cat Club?
•  Have you ever felt scared or shy when meeting new people?
•  Have you ever invited someone to play with you and your friends?
•  What’s the best part about meeting new friends?
•  What clubs are you a member of, or would be interested in joining? If you could create your own club, what would you call it?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a Cat Valentine—cut out a medium heart from construction paper; cut out a smaller circle for the head of the cat; cut out 2 triangles for the cat ears and attach to the top of the circle. Attach the circle to the top of the heart. Cut out paws and attach to the sides of the heart so it looks like the cat is holding the heart. Cut out a smaller circle and glue to the middle of the heart. Cut out a small heart and glue to the face of the cat for the nose. Draw in eyes and mouth.
•  Make a Valentine card for your best friend or your pet!
•  Draw an Emblem for your club (see page 30 for example). Write the name of your club and decorate the badge.
•  Make a club house: Draw a picture of your own club house. Write what kind of club it is. Make sure it has a door. You can draw yourself (and/or your friends) inside!

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!