The Sign of the Cat
Find it at your library or you can ...
Lynne Jonell
author and illustrator, Lynne Jonell
author's website
Henry Holt & Co.
The State of Imagination

Duncan can speak Cat, a skill that is useful when he hears rumors at a midnight cat council that kittens are disappearing mysteriously throughout the island kingdom of Arvidia. But more than that is amiss.  

The king is sick, the princess has been lost, and Duncan himself has a mother who seems to live in fear, refuses to tell him anything about his father, and instructs her son to never, never do his best. 

Unwittingly putting himself in the hands of his greatest enemy, Duncan sails away on an epic quest to discover his true identity, restore justice to the kingdom, and save the country’s cats from a sinister, kitten-hating villain.

1.   What would you do if you could speak the language of cats? How would your life be different?
2.   Has someone ever told you not to do your best, the way Duncan’s mother did?  How did you react?
3.   Duncan had a lot of adventures. If you could pick one to go on with Duncan, which would it be, and how would you help him so things would turn out better?
4. Have you ever known someone who everyone admired, but who was mean to you?  How can the same person be seen as both good and bad?
5.   Have you ever sailed on a ship? This story takes place on a ship from long ago with sails and sailors and cargo in the hold. Can you imagine what it would be like to sail on a ship like this? Where would your food come from? Where would you go to the bathroom? Stephen Biesty is an illustrator who creates intricately detailed cross-sections of many objects, including a man-o'-war and a Spanish galleon. Add these books to your reading list so you can get a good idea of the workings of a ship that Duncan might have sailed on.
6.   This story is a fantasy. That means it’s set in an imaginary world, and you get to imagine how that world looks! You might like to draw the castle in Duncan’s home town, or the raft he built, or Traitor Island, or any other place in the book you can see with your imagination. Do a rough sketch with pencil to get it just the way you like, and then use colored pencils, crayons, or markers to bring it to life.
When your child has finished reading The Sign of the Cat, be sure to check off this book on your booklist, moving towards reading 12 books or 18 books this summer. You can register for a mile marker, our random drawing for several levels of giveaways.
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