Owl and Cat

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Developed by: NitroLab


Ages 2-5

An interactive story app version of Edward Lear’s famous poem, “The Owl and the Pussy-Cat,” we love this app for its bold illustrations, lively music, and toddler-friendly interactions.

Get Ready

Prepare to use the app by introducing one of these activities.

  1. Storytime. Poetry is one of the oldest forms of storytelling. Many old poems continue to be cherished and often retold in picture book format. Share some with your child such as The Swing by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Julie Morstad.
  2. Title Talk. The opening page of the app shows the title, “Owl and the Pussycat.” Ask your child what they think the story will be about and what will happen.


Dive In

Help your child get the most out of an app experience by trying the following activities.

  1. Music and Story. The Owl and Cat app is set to lovely music and the story itself is full of song. Poems are often the foundation of song lyrics. Have your child help you sing the poem as a song! Even if they cannot read yet, they can memorize a verse or two or hum the melody while you sing. It does not have to be a real song, although that is certainly one way to approach this activity. But in true Edward Lear style, nonsense and silliness are totally acceptable and encouraged!
  2. Extend the Story. Help your child become storytellers themselves by asking them the following questions: How did Owl and Pussy-cat meet? Where were they before they went to sea? What happens after they finish dancing by light of the moon? Where do they live? Do they have any children? What are those children like? More owl-like? More cat-like? A mix?
  3. Imagine. When Owl and Cat set out on their journey across the sea, “They took some honey, and plenty of money/ Wrapped up in a five pound note.” What would your child take on their own sea adventure? Why would they choose those items? Do they have a friend or family member that they would like to come, as well? After finishing the story, pretend to go on this journey! A cardboard box or blanket makes for a great boat or raft. Make sure your child gathers the belongings they are taking with them! Perhaps a boat picnic is in order.

Branch Out

Extend the app experience with these real life activities.

  1. Poetry of Edward Lear. Read more of Edward Lear’s nonsense poems to your child, or enjoy this video of Children’s poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman reading three of them, including "Owl and the Pussy-Cat". Compare the older style of illustrations with the illustrations in the app. Ask your child to describe how the poems and/or illustrations make them feel. This activity helps foster literacy and your child’s understanding of storytelling.
  2. Nonsense. After Owl and Cat married, “They dined on mince, and slices of quince,/Which they ate with a runcible spoon.” “Runcible” is a nonsense word that Edward Lear uses in several of his poems. Ask your child to invent their own nonsense word. Can they draw a picture of it? What is nonsense? Does your child like nonsense? This activity will help foster your child’s creativity.
  3. Get Crafty. Help your child make their own pea green boat. Gather some green waterproof paint, three corks, a couple different styles of scrapbook paper, crayons and stickers, scissors, a small screwdriver, and a bamboo skewer. First prepare the corks by using the screwdriver to make a small hole in the middle of each cork. Then push the skewer through all the way to one end and cut off the rest. Give your child the newly created base of your boat to paint green. Show them how to cut out a sail from the scrapbook paper, and encourage them to decorate the sail with crayons and/or stickers. Cut the rest of the skewer to an appropriate size for the sail, and stick the skewer through both ends of the sail. You could also laminate the sail to give it extra water resistance. Now go sail the boat in the bathtub, big puddle, or nearby stream! Looking for more visual instructions? Click here.