The Cat's Pajamas
written and illustrated by Wallace Edwards
(Kids Can Press) 2010
Source: Orange County Public Library
If you teach idioms to your students, find a copy of Wallace Edwards's The Cat's Pajamas. Each page contains a richly illustrated portrait (see cat on the left) with a humorous caption below it. My favorite portrait is of an anteater named Anita talking to a painter goat named Sir William. The caption reads "The sight of Sir William's new painting made Anita hold her tongue." Of course, Anita the anteater is literally holding her tongue while looking at a painting of an ant in top hat strumming a guitar. The illustrations are of such high interest that you will be looking at them several times finding new information in each viewing. In the last portrait, the author challenges the reader to find the hidden cat on each page so there is also a little I Spy quality to this book as well.
I could see a two prong assignment using The Cat's Pajamas. If you have access to a document camera, you can show the portraits without the captions and ask students to guess which idiom is being illustrated. Then, you could ask students to pick an idiom and create an illustration and write a caption. For example, I would write a caption that said "Phyllis decided to stay in for the evening since it was raining cats and dogs." The illustration would feature a mouse looking out the window at falling dogs and cats.
Click below for online idiom games and other reviews of The Cat's Pajamas.
Click on this link for a fun idiom game at FunBrain. For more wordplay fun, check out these rebus puzzles at NIEHS.
Other reviews of The Cat's Pajamas:
Jean Little Library