Monday, November 21, 2016


Picture Book: They All Saw a Cat
Author & Illustrator: Brendan Wenzel
Summary: This clever book is a visual lesson on perspective and point of view. 
As the cat moves through the story, the characters which view the cat see it very differently depending on their positions, senses, and feelings. First a child sees the cat as a soft companion. 
Then a dog sees the cat as scrawny and leery with a huge bell around its neck. 
A fox sees the cat as potential food, running away. 
A fish sees the cat as distorted, through a fishbowl. 
And a flea sees the cat as home. 
More abstract viewings come from a snake, 
a skunk, 
a worm, 
a bat 
and others. The reasons for the differing views aren't explained so you’ll need to make sense of the changes in how the cat is seen. My favorite page has all the animals’ perspectives in one. 
Then Wenzel offers all 12 animals together. 
The ingenious ending has the cat coming upon a body of water and seeing its own face.   
Hanna’s Comments: At first glance this is a simple book for young children, but there is a lot of value here that folks of any age can glean. Perspective is a key aspect of building empathy which is the foundation of The Golden Rule. Likewise, The Golden Rule is the foundation of several aspects of faith formation such as compassion, community building, intercessory prayer (prayer for others), and desires for social justice. Before reading, I suggest you teach your audience to say, “the cat” at your signal. After the fun of reading, attach a faith issue to the concept of perspective so that you may explore the depth that is just below the surface of this intriguing story. You might want to wrap up with this question, “How has your life experience influenced how you see God?” Here's another idea: Have your group consider how various Bible characters might have viewed Jesus depending on their circumstances or culture.
2021 Update: Recently, I’ve discovered this book by Nebbe & Ebbler. It is also about different perspectives (a young girl’s and her dog’s as they go for a walk.) It’s simpler and more relatable. I recommend it for 3 and up.
Original Publisher & Date: Chronicle, 2016
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet and Audible
Scripture Connections: As you wish others will do for you, do also for them (Matthew 7:12 & Luke 6:31); You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18, Mark 12:31, Galatians 5:14 & James 2:8); the Psalms offer many varying perspectives of God depending on the experiences of the writers. These can be inferred from the verses and Old Testament history.
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of adults in your faith family who are hoping to become more sensitive to a diverse community within and around your place of worship.

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