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Cat Talk

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From cuddler to troublemaker, kitten to tom, cats have a lot to say. Authors Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest and illustrator Barry Moser give voice to and celebrate our most opinionated furry friends in this spirited collection of poems filled with rich language, perfect for reading aloud. Cat Talk is sure to make readers wonder what their own four-legged friends have to say.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

32 pages, Hardcover

First published March 19, 2013

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About the author

Patricia MacLachlan

113 books709 followers
Patricia MacLachlan was born on the prairie, and always carried a small bag of prairie dirt with her wherever she went to remind her of what she knew first. She was the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb's Story; and Three Names, illustrated by Mike Wimmer. She lived in western Massachusetts.

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5 stars
93 (33%)
4 stars
110 (39%)
3 stars
67 (24%)
2 stars
8 (2%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 84 reviews
Profile Image for Kathryn.
4,143 reviews
May 10, 2022
Cat Talk and Once I Ate a Pie came in together at the library and I read them in the same sitting. They really do feel like companion books, one about cats and the other about dogs. I think I liked the one about cats a bit better, but probably because I am more experienced with cats and have known cats with most of those personalities. The dog one is cute, too, though. I was pleased that there are not really any irresponsible humans (pet "owners") in these pages, though a few of the animals do get into some mischief (such as, ahem, eating a pie). Overall, I can't say as I was really wowed by either book, but they are sweet enough and it's clear the MacLachlans love animals.
Profile Image for Cheryl .
8,933 reviews391 followers
June 22, 2016
Paintings of cats - by Barry Moser. Poems - by the MacLachans. What's not to love? Well, for starters, the fact that the lovely long-haired cat isn't necessarily a she, and isn't necessarily vain. I'd rather we'd get introduced to real cats rather than stereotypical icons of our projected perceptions.

Well, to be fair, sometimes we do: mama Bett has good names for her kittens as she wishes humans would be more observant to their true natures and not just their coloring.

You might like it more than I did, and wish there were more than 13 cats featured. But I do recommend you check it out from the library before buying it.
Profile Image for Emily.
849 reviews140 followers
December 1, 2020
I requested this from the library for reasons that amuse me, but are far too convoluted to explain. But because I happened to have it on hand, I went ahead and read it aloud to my son. We both enjoyed it. The poems are fun to read aloud (more than they would be to read to oneself, I think), and the water color portraits, presumably of real cats the mother/daughter author team knows (or knew, sigh), are lovely. Afterwords, we decided which of the cats we would adopt, and we both chose Romeo.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,083 reviews174 followers
November 20, 2018
Thirteen poems about various cats from co-authors Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest are paired with watercolor paintings of said felines in this sweet picture-book. Each two-page spread features a different cat (and cat breed), from the loving Romeo to the motherly Bett.

The chief appeal of this slight picture-book, for this reader, was Moser's delightful paintings, which really capture the feline charm of his subjects, in their various delightful poses. The poems themselves were pleasant but unremarkable, and I doubt I'll recall anything about them in a few hours' time. Recommended primarily to Barry Moser fans (in whose number I count myself), although young cat lovers may enjoy it as well.
Profile Image for Krista the Krazy Kataloguer.
3,873 reviews263 followers
September 16, 2017
I assumed that the authors of this book based their poems on cats they knew and owned, but, according to the dust jacket flap, they both own dogs. So where did they find these interesting felines? My absolute favorite poem is "Bett," in which a mama cat tells us what she would name her kittens as opposed to what humans would name them. It reminded me of my own mama cats. "Romeo" made me think of the cats I've had in the past who practically velcro themselves to me--skirt kitties, my sister and I call them. Needy. You can't help but love them.

I love Barry Moser's illustrations too, especially the cat with the wise-ass look on the page opposite the title page. The first poem, "Tough Tom," is about him. I've adopted some tough toms in my time, or, perhaps I should say, they've adopted me. I had to laugh at the illustration accompanying the poem "Tuck," in which a cat likes to burrow under the covers. Now I wonder how one of the sleepers got that band-aid on his/her toe?

Cat lovers like me are sure to relate to and enjoy these poems. Highly recommended! (Their 2 poetry books about dogs are excellent too!)
Profile Image for Nancy Kotkin.
1,363 reviews34 followers
June 20, 2017
Text: 3 stars
Illustrations: 3 stars

Picture book of poetry about cats. Specific cats are given names and personalities (like Tough Tom). Cat lovers will probably enjoy this more than I do.
Profile Image for Linda .
3,615 reviews39 followers
June 26, 2021
I recently found this book at my library. Co-authored by Patricia MacLachlan and her daughter, Emily MacLachlan Charest, and illustrated by Barry Moser, you'll find delightful pages, each with a lovely image of a particular cat and poetic text that describes its special personality. For those who love cats, this would make a wonderful gift, and for those who teach, I can imagine having students use this example to spark their own poems about a particular favorite pet, not necessarily a cat.
As you can see from the gorgeous cover, Barry Moser shows cat personalities very well. There is the sweetest small painting of two buddies leaning together on the dedication page, a black cat and a white one, and the book begins! There is Tough Tom whom we meet as an on-the-streets cat, who walked into a warm and welcoming place, and as he said, "But you opened the window/And I walked in." We meet Minnie, a cat so dark, he says "My fur is the color of the night./I am a shadow," with an almost full-page illustration of a dark night with a full moon, and Minnie, blending in! Each cat is filled with personality, both in the words and the illustration. A favorite is dear Romeo, black with a white bib, reminding me of my last cat, Max, both in looks and personality. The poem reads in part, "I fall over onto people I love./You can pet me anytime/anywhere." The book pays sweet homage to cat pets, and the reasons we love them, "They've got personality!"
Profile Image for Reshamad.
282 reviews7 followers
December 4, 2013
Cuddle-some to Troublesome!

From the cutest to the most troublesome kittens, cats and toms, “Cat Talk” features furry friendly poems for children to read. Authors MacLachlan captures the many “cat” personalities in 13 different poems. Written with a gentle flow or words, these poems are told in first person and delightfully easy to read.

Meet “Tough Tom” who walks into a window with his nose scratched and ear torn up from a street fight with cats. He is cold and hungry and scared but he takes a chance and walks into a new life.

Then there is Princess Sheba Darling. This majestic graceful cat poses herself and shows off her importance in this world.

At the end there is playful and friendly Eddie who has a “job”. He meets and greets people. He runs when the phone rings and makes himself busy all through the day.

A lovely set of poems for a cat lovers. Enjoy reading these out and talking about the different personalities of the feline world. Barry Moser’s wonderfully warm watercolor paintings of sometimes playful and sometimes graceful cats are charming and kind to the eye.
3,031 reviews10 followers
March 19, 2013
This is a gorgeous picture book. The only thing which kept me from giving it a fifth star is that I am not sure of the intended audience. Some of the poetry seems aimed at the adults reading it, rather than to the kids for whom it seems to be formatted.
For kids familiar with cats, or for parents of kids in a family with cats, this will be a treasure for the illustrations.
Think of this as a modern reply to Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats and you won't be far off. Each pair of pages describes a cat [or group of kittens in one case] that is a feline archetype. Each painting portrays not only a cat but a clear and definitive mood moment for that cat. The combination is really good, and cat lovers will fall for it.
Profile Image for Tomiko.
101 reviews
April 10, 2013
I am not sure why that particular illustration was chosen for the cover--it is not the strongest out of the book, so don't let it deter you. Overall, I think the poems and illustrations will appeal to cat lovers of all ages. They poems and illustratoins are not sappy or insipid, nor are they catty (ok, maybe I mean snarky) and repulsive. Rather, cats are depicted as they truly are: individualistic furry souls with a lot of personality.
15 reviews8 followers
July 4, 2013
Comparing this book to the one the author did on dogs really hurt this book. The dog poetry book was something special and a bit magical, but the cat one just can't compare to it. It also doesn't help that I'm not a cat person!
Profile Image for Megan.
15 reviews
June 26, 2015
Twin Text

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes
By Eric Litwin
Published 2010

Rationale for Twin Texts Selection

These books share the genre picture books for children about cats. The first book is poems about different cats and their characteristics. It describes their essence and way of life. The other book is a fictional story about a cat. The book is about keeping a bright outlook on life, and teaching students the importance of staying positive. It is a fun and easy read to go along with the harder poem book. I will ask the students which cat is similar to Pete from the fictional book. There is one cat that is always happy and nice to everyone and the students should be able to make that connection.

Identify Text Structure in the Book

The book starts out with a title page and has one note at the end about the watercolor paintings in the book. The book is divided into a section for each poem. Each poem has a title describing the cat in the poem so the text pattern is description. The title is a different color to grab the attention of the reader. It also gives a clue to the cat’s personality. Each poem has a beautiful watercolor painting to help the reader bring the cat to life in their mind, making it jump off the page. The layout of the written text and painting is different for each one. Some texts are off to the side in white space and others are incorporated around the artwork. For example, with the cat that sneaks under the covers, the text is right above the people in the painting invading the people’s space like the cat does under the covers.

Strategy Application

The children are working on a creative writing unit and are going to write a story about their pet. To get ready for this we are using twin texts about cats. The children will have two examples of stories with descriptive describing words. The strategy we are going to use is webbing. I will have students listen for different words describing the cats in Cat Talk and they will make a web with all the descriptive words used for the cats. Then in the Pete the Cat book, we are also going to be looking for descriptive words and doing the same thing. However, in this book they are describing objects making the story come alive and the students will also note the repetition of the descriptive words. That way they can see descriptive words with objects and animals. We will also discuss which cat is like Pete from the first book and why.
September 28, 2019
Cat Talk is a poetry book. It is intended for children from four to eight years of age. In this book the cats talk to the reader. The cats are talking about their life as a cat. They are explaining what they are going through and how they are feeling. I rated this book a four. I gave it four stars because I enjoyed the illustrations. The paintings really capture the cats and show the variety of them. I liked that the cats are given names and personalities. It helps the children relate to the cats. This book will make the children wonder what their pets have to say. I like some of the poems more than others. My favorite poems were Bett and Romeo. Bett talked about her kittens and what she would name them and how she related their name to their personality. It shows how she feels about them and shows a lot of the kittens personality traits. I liked Romeo because it talked about how he loves everyone and how he wants to get attention. He wants to be woken up to play whenever they fee like playing with him. These poems alone show two very different personalities. It shows children that even though we cannot understand what our cats are saying they have personalities and feelings too. This book would be appealing to young children because most children like animals and enjoy reading about them. These type of books tend to capture children’s attention. You may use this book with children when you are teaching them about different personality traits.
Profile Image for Eva.
10 reviews
November 28, 2013
Cat Talk is a children’s poetry book with beautiful illustrations. There are 13 poems in this book, and all poems are told by 13 different cats’ viewpoints. All of the cats in the book are very unique, and they find their meaning in humans’ lives.
In this book, readers can also find typical cats’ habits and characters. For example, cats prefer to sleep somewhere warm and comfortable such as in a mitten box, in bedclothes, on fluffy clothing, and on a copy machine. Furthermore, this book describes the inquisitiveness of cats. For instance, cats sometimes come into a bathroom and play with bubbles or running water although most cats do not like to become wet with water. Therefore, some readers who have ever owned a cat will have something that comes to mind about those cats’ behavior and curious nature, so the readers can enjoy reading the poems. On the other hand, some readers who have never owned a cat also can enjoy reading the poems and learning about cats’ general behavior and characteristics such as friendliness, inquisitiveness, and self-respect. In addition, the beautiful full-color illustrations and attention-grabbing writing style of the poetry never bore the readers. I recommend this book for children whose ages range from four to eight and also for animal lovers of all ages.
Profile Image for David.
384 reviews11 followers
April 30, 2014
So, I asked what we are going to read next, and my 8 year old grandson shoves this book at me after he had informed me that he had already read it, wanted it for the next read-aloud, and thought I would like it. So with a cat trying to get on top of the book, and the other two making themselves scarce, I did my best to figure how each of these should be read.

Each of the poems features a particular cat, and each cat is a unique character. So, kneading our black and white "Smacky" to keep him occupied and purring, all three of us shared an enjoyable few minutes over breakfast.

The pictures are lush, the poetry brief and well phrased, the cats memorable. I used sound effects for Romeo's many calls, as that poem almost wanted me to speak cat instead of English.

This is just a fun book for anybody who has even enjoyed the company of cats.
Profile Image for Margaret Chind.
3,117 reviews210 followers
April 19, 2013
Loving the Sarah, Plain and Tall stories from my childhood I was curious what I would find in a picture book from Patricia MacLachlan and I'm enchanted. This book reminds me partially of the cat portion in the Our Animal Friends At Maple Hill Farm book. Each page is an image of a cat and poetic text in a description. It is absolutely lovely and full of personality. Yes I do think this ail make a fun children's picture book, but even more I think this will be a fabulous gift idea for anyone that loves cats.

*Thanks to HarperCollins for providing an ARC for review.*

posted: http://creativemadnessmama.com/blog/2...
Profile Image for Heidi-Marie.
3,854 reviews81 followers
April 12, 2014
I liked this better than I thought, since I am not a cat person. The poems were simple yet conveyed sentiments and personalities very well. I was able to imagine these cats exactly, even though I've never been around cats for that long. My favorite part was probably the illustrations, though. So adorable and perfectly captured the cats and what the poems were saying. Should reach a god audience. I may have to consider this for a preschool storytime choice, since I must remember that even though I do not like cats, many of the kids do. And this is at a level they should understand.

2014-2015 Beehive nominee
Profile Image for Laura.
2,045 reviews41 followers
September 29, 2013
A lovely collection of cat poetry with glorious paintings. It's a lovely companion to Once I Ate a Pie and I Didn't Do It. These poems don't have quite the same humor, though cat owners and lovers will certainly connect with the various cats and kittens described in the book.
3,714 reviews18 followers
December 6, 2013
These poems are clearly by a felineophile! So true for those of us who live with cats. The opening poem about Tough Tom was so on target for me. We had a battered old tom who slowly worked his way into our home and hearts just like this poem. I loved the next one too of the cat who slides under the blankets with the sleeping kids. Lovely illustrations and poems by someone who knows and loves cats.
Profile Image for Dolly.
Author 1 book641 followers
November 21, 2013
This is a wonderful collection of poetry about cats that humorously depicts the myriad personalities of cats. The poems are short and witty and the illustrations are marvelous. It totally reminded me of the classic book, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. We really enjoyed reading this book together and we've read it a couple of times.
Profile Image for Melissa.
2,317 reviews15 followers
October 22, 2013
A felinophile's dream: 13 beautiful watercolor portraits of cats are accompanied by a poem that reveals their personalities. I am no cat fan, and had initially given this three stars, but up-ed my rating knowing that cat fanciers will be over the moon. The poems effectively convey the character of each cat and the regard it is held in, but it is clear that the artistry of the poems is not the focus.
Profile Image for Heather McC.
832 reviews5 followers
January 9, 2019
My favorite cat featured in this celebratory book of prose is 'Peony' - she could be the size twin of my Norwegian Forest cat, Trinity. It's hard to declare a favorite among such great felines, each with their own personal quirks and tastes. Once again, you don't have to enjoy cats to read 'Cat Talk'.
Profile Image for Michele.
597 reviews
May 21, 2017
Love the poetry and illustrations in this book!
600 reviews2 followers
July 19, 2017
Expressive illustrations of many different varieties of cats bring the poems to life in this fun book.
Profile Image for Lisa.
190 reviews2 followers
June 24, 2018
I will buying this awesome book. A must have for any animal or especially cat lover!
Profile Image for Bethe.
5,795 reviews51 followers
April 16, 2019
I;m not a cat person, but I enjoyed these poems, the personalities of the cats shine through. I especially liked the first poem, Tough Tom.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 84 reviews

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