There are so many wonderful books around that sometimes we miss reviewing something that we really love or have enjoyed using with children. Meeting Owen Davey at Hay earlier this year reminded me just how much I love his books and his style of illustration. ‘Crazy About Cats’- could have been written to describe me- is my favourite of his books to date and is a wonderful text to use to support the Year 6 Science Curriculum ( living things, evolution etc)- or purely for pleasure!
Although I am a fan of photographs in non-fiction books, there is something very appealing about Owen’s stunning illustrations and their beauty which negates this concern completely. The book begins with exploring the genus of cats, number of species and general diet and habitat of these amazing creatures before considering their evolution and the domesticity of the house cat. This could form the perfect starting point for work on classification, using examples before working scientifically and classifying creatures they might find closer to home. (Bonkers About Beetles might come in handy here!)
The diversity of cats in this book is wonderful, making the perfect starting point for further investigation, allowing children to compare and contrast how different cats species have adapted to their environments. The marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata) caught my imagination - I’m ashamed to say I had never heard of it; I now know where it comes from and that it is the only species classified as ‘pardofelis’, having previously been thought to belong to the panthera lineage. Another species which leapt off the page at me was the ‘margay’ which is a featured creature in the book. Sadly. both of these wonderful creatures are considered to be ‘near threatened’.
‘Crazy About Cats’ is packed full of fascinating, clear information, but I also love the fact that there is a section about cat mythology, touching on some of the stories told about cats through the ages. There are many writing opportunities which might come from this book as well- reports, persuasive, discussion as well as narrative.
The contents and index make it easy to navigate, but this is really one of those books that is best lingered over as something catches the eye. The book ends with information about the endangered status of many of our big cats and suggestions for how we can help.
Beautiful in content as well as quality, ‘Crazy About Cats’ is a fabulous book about felines which will captive and educate in equal measure.
Crazy About Cats Owen Davey
Flying Eye Books ISBN: 978-1911171164
Planning ideas for this book will be added to the Members’ Section of the website very soon.