Written and Illustrated by: Mark Birchall
Preview and Predict
Sometimes we don't realize how important our friends are until they aren't there anymore, a lesson that Dog learns in this story. Begin your read-through by drawing attention to different elements in the cover and illustrations, and make predictions about the story. There are quite a few tips and suggestions throughout this guide, so feel free to spread them out across multiple readings. Ask questions like:
What do you see on the cover?
What does it mean to be a "copy cat"? Is it a nice or not nice thing to call someone? Why?
[Turn to the inside cover} What are some of the things that Cat and Dog are doing in these pictures?
What do you think will happen in this story?
As You Read
Every once in awhile, you can interject some vocabulary words to discuss the story with your child. For example, you can say things like, "Do you think that Dog is DISAPPOINTED that Cat isn't there with her? Can you BALANCE on a tight rope?" You can also point out sight words with your child if s/he isn't able to read on his/her own like CAT, DOG, THE, etc. Discuss the sounds that each letter in these words make and sound out the words as a whole.
Stop every once in awhile to clump information or make connections between parts of the story and the real world. For example, you can ask questions like "Who found the pirate treasure? Can you find the dinosaur in this picture? Have you ever wanted to _________? What do you think it would be like?" You can also encourage your child to make predictions about the story like, "Why do you think Cat isn't there? Where do you think Dog is?"
Take this time to recap the story and build comprehension of the storyline. Try using these questions and any more that may come to mind:
Did you like that story? What was your favorite part?
Do you think Dog and Cat actually went to space or saw a dinosaur? How did they get to do all of those fun things?
Why did Dog call Cat a copy cat?
How did Dog feel when Cat didn't come to play with her?
What makes you feel better when you're sick?
How did Dog become the copy cat in the end?
Extending the Story
Play Copy Cat
Source: Music Play Digital
As this story demonstrates, being a copy cat doesn't always have to be a bad thing, it can be a fun thing! This is what we've found to be true for this activity where you and your child can take turns being copy cats and imitating everything that the other does. Watch this video to see how a school teacher uses boomwhackers to turn her whole class into copy cats! You can simulate this activity in your home with some household materials. Gather anything that makes a cool sound, but be sure there is one of each thing for everyone participating. These things may include boxes to make beats on, empty paper towel tubes to tap together, two brushes to rub together, etc. Incorporate both sounds and movements, and use your body parts as a part of the game by clapping, stomping your feet, etc.
Check This Out
Does it seem a bit strange that a dog and a cat would be friends? Well, it's not so uncommon for there to be unlikely and surprising animal friendships. Help your child compare and contrast characteristics of dogs and cats, discussing what they look like, the sounds the make, how they like to play, etc. Then, ask why dogs and cats can be friends even though they are different.