Hurlimann, Ruth (1973). The Cat and Mouse Who Shared a House. Prentice Hall Press.
Batchelder Award Book: Translated from German by A. Bell.
Children’s Picture Book for ages 4 and up.
Before reading The Cat and Mouse Who Shared a House it is immediately known what the book is going to be about based on its title and the cover page of the mouse and cat on the front and around them is a heart. I perceived the cat and mouse to have a loving and caring relationship.
This book is filled with bright, lively pages. The illustrator, Ruth Hurlimann, is wonderful. She crafts each page of pictures to really depict what the author is saying. Since there are very few words in the book, you come to understand the relationship of the cat and mouse through the drawings. In the beginning of the book, the setting is winter time. So, the cat and the mouse have a pot of butter to share. However, little does the mouse know the cat is taking advantage of him. Throughout the book. the reader learns the cat is selfish, lazy cat who wants all the food to herself. This book is carefully crafted and well thought out. The illustrator, Ruth Hurlimann, spent a lot of time to bring life and tell a story through her pictures.
In my opinion, this book was really cute. It is a great book for children because they are able to “read” the body language of the cat and the mouse to understand the story. They also would be able to re-create their own story of what they believe the cat or mouse is thinking. This would allow them to use their imagination and be creative as well. For older children or teens, this would be great in the same aspects as it would for younger children. They could re-tell the story in their own way, try to guess what the cat or mouse is thinking, or do a skit on the book with their own twist. The greatest way this could help older children or teens, are those who are non-English speakers. This is an easy way to “read” without frustrating them.
While reading this book, a teacher could ask students:
-What do they think is going on in each characters head?
-Why do they share a home?
-Since they are an unlikely pair, how do you think they became friends?
-Do you think they have always been friends?
-Do you think they were ever friends?
And this list could go on…
The setting, plot, theme, style, and point of view are all perfect for the way the book was organized. The setting of the book is in a house during the winter. The message of the story aligns well with the message. The message of the story is actually quite sad because the cat and the mouse aren’t true friends. The cat takes advantage of the mouse in the house. The house is the setting of the story since this is where all the action happens. The point of view is third person.
This book could be taught as a way to help children learn to perceive pictures. This book would be taught as a lesson for young children. Since it is a mostly picture book, I feel like it would be hard to teach and would be better to compare it to another book. However, I would try to teach students a message of how the cat was selfish and greedy and how this affected the mouse.
Students will understand how it is not nice to deceive someone and how there actions can really affect someone else.
My lesson would be for Kindergarten.
-How do you think the cat felt at the end of the story?
-How do you think the mouse felt?
-Why do you think the cat would hurt her friend?
-Why do you think the cat tried to take advantage of the mousE?
-Why could they “never be friends?”
CA ELA State Standards 2.3 Relate an experience or creative story in a logical sequence.
Students will relate an experience that have had or seen in their life that is similiar to the story. For example, when someone didn’t want to be their friend or a similiar experience.
They will write a small paragraph about it and how they turned it around. For example, Zoey didn’t want to play with me on the playground. It made me sad. I played with Lilly on slide later. It made me happy.
Then, they can draw a picture relating to the story.
Story elements could be taught for older children.