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Winter Reading Fun: Millions of Cats!

Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag received a Newbery Honor award 92 years ago, in 1929, and is the oldest American picture book still in print. The story is about an older couple who are sad because they have no children, and when his wife wishes for a cat, the husband sets out over hills and through valleys until he arrives at a place with “hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats.” Like many of us, he has a hard time choosing and so takes them all. If you’ve never read this story, we highly recommend it!  Another cat story you might like is Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani.

Extend the story by making your own paper cats. Our first one was plain cardstock but you can make yours out of scrapbook paper or add paint or doodling or other decorative details.

What you need:

  • cardstock or stiff scrapbook paper, approx. 8 1/2 x 4 inches
  • scissors
  • black marker or crayon
  • glue stick
  • optional: paint, colored markers

What you do:

  1. Fold the cardstock paper in half so that the piece is 4 x 4 1/4 inches.
  2. With the fold at the top, cut a “U” shape through both halves at the open end, at the bottom. What you have left is the cat’s body.
  3. Take the pieces cut from the body: One will become the cat’s head and the other its tail.
  4. For the cat’s head: Cut another, smaller “U” shape on the straight edge (not the rounded end) of one piece. This will shape the cat’s ears.
  5. For the cat’s tail: Cut a smaller “U” shape from the straight edge of the second piece, and round off one end.
  6. Glue the cat’s head in the top corner on one side of the cat’s body.
  7. Glue the cat’s tail inside the other end so that the tail curves toward the cat’s head.
  8. Draw the cat’s face with the black marker.
  9. Add additional details and decorations with markers or crayons as desired.
  10. Older students may enjoy adding some Zentangle (sections of tiny doodles, like in one of the cats pictured above) or making a collage to decorate the cat.

How many cats can you make? Can you make 100 cats? Can you stack them? Try them in different sizes and colors and have fun acting out the story and playing pretend with them.

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