Grandma's cat Snowy is about to have kittens, and Lisa and her little brother Joey will get to keep one. Little Pepper, whose white fur is dotted with black spots, has a very busy first year. Lisa keeps track of the highlights using a calendar. Her journal is also filled with lots of nifty information about cats. Events in people's lives are measured by time, so it is important that children understand the relationships between days, weeks, months, and years. Illustrated by Marsha Winborn.
Ask questions throughout the story, such as: "How old is Pepper now?" "Which day is Pepper's birthday?" "How many months are in a year?"
After reading the story, make a list of family or class events that occur on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. Help your child or class record the events on the calendar.
Make your own calendar. Draw 12 blank grids (use the ones in Pepper's Journal as a guide) and work together with your child or class to decorate each one. Staple the pages together and hang the calendar up for use all year long!
Inspired by "Pepper’s Journal: A Kitten’s First Year," the first graders at my school -- Schyulkill Elementary in Phoenixville, PA-- charted the progress of Bandit, a kitten adopted from the SPCA by a family in the school district. On the first Friday of every month, Bandit went to school. The kids started out trying to estimate how long his tail was. Then they measured it. They did the same for his left leg, width-of-body, and length from head-to-tail, practicing first on their favorite stuffed animals brought in from home. (Ed. note: Another excellent resource for pet measurement activities is “Measuring Penny” by Loreen Leedy.)
Over the school year, little Bandit was also weighed and his growth recorded on a line graph. The kids even figured out how to measure the right amount of food to put in Bandit’s bowl. Each child created a "Bandit's Journal," using all the data that had been gathered over the year, along with their wonderful drawings. We also used Stuart’s books "Mighty Maddie" to learn about comparing weights, "Get Up and Go!" to understand elapsed time, and "A House for Birdie" to introduce the concept of capacity.
from Virginia Salava, Schyukill Elementary School, Phoenixville, PA
This entry in the MathStart series investigates the concepts of calendar time through the events of a kitten's first year. Lisa's agreeable, first-person journal keeps track of important dates the birth of the litter at Grandma's, Lisa and younger brother Joey's first visit to the week-old kittens, permission to keep a newborn kitten when it is ready to leave its mother, selecting and naming a kitten at when it is one-month-old, taking Pepper home at two months, and so on to Pepper's first birthday. These milestones appear in attractively busy spreads that show the progression of Lisa's family life on the left and Lisa's journal of Pepper's progress on the right. Many scenes will provoke smiles: Thanksgiving in November finds Pepper under the family's table, tugging at an eight-month-old cousin's blanket, while Lisa's journal drawings show her reading Pepper his favorite book, Puss in Boots, as he rests on her quilt. The recurring monthly calendar highlights important dates; in this well-done book, readers also learn harder facts about what a growing cat needs and does integral, everyday, and useful information presented in a way that reinforces notions about the passing of time as well as the functions of a calendar.Used with permission from Kirkus Reviews. Copyright ¬©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
The excitement begins when Grandma's cat, Snowy, gives birth to three kittens. One will soon belong to her grandchildren, Joey and Lisa. To prepare herself, Lisa goes to the library and checks out every book on kittens. She learns that when newborn, these creatures weigh three ounces. One week later, the kittens open their eyes. Two months must pass before the children can take Pepper, the chosen animal, home. In an entertaining journal format, readers observe Pepper's growth over the next year and learn all of the important details of cat care and cat behavior. The concept of time is fully integrated into the story. A monthly calendar appears on each double-page spread showing the progression of days, weeks, and months. Winborn's full-color animated paintings give readers lots to examine and enjoy. A unique complement to most collections.
—Jackie Hechtkopf, University of Maryland, College Park
Used with permission from School Library Journal. Copyright Cahners Business Information, Inc.
This useful, appealing MathStart book sets out to conquer calendar time, and as it does, it skillfully covers the care and development of kittens, too. Grandma's cat has had three kittens. Lisa and Joey pick one they name Pepper, and Lisa begins a journal to record the kitten's first year. Each month she makes an entry containing facts the family has learned about kittens and cats, as well as drawings, stickers, and funny stories about Pepper. Superimposed on Lisa's journal is a small cat calendar with a stamp on the date of Lisa's entry and major holidays marked as well. Teachers start familiarizing kids with calendars in preschool, and this book handles the concept in a suitable and special way. Winborn's illustrations of a loving, single-parent household are warm and reveal the shared experiences of holiday celebrations, trips to the vet, school life, and summer vacations. End papers contain activities for extending the concepts.
—Kathy Broderick, 6/1/00
Used with permission from Booklist Copyright ¬© 2000 American Library Association. All rights reserved.
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