Ever since I can remember I’ve always loved cats. In fact, I have a reputation amongst my friends as being a bit of a crazy cat lady!!
Unfortunately my mum is allergic to them so I was never lucky enough to have one when I was growing up. However, I did manage to adopt a stray whilst living at university (much to my housemates despair!), and as soon as I was a “real adult” living on my own, I went straight down to my local RSPCA rescue centre and adopted Della, a gorgeous 3 year old black and white moggy with the most beautiful eyes. It wasn’t an easy relationship, Della had clearly been mistreated and it took me a long time to earn her trust and for her to stop attacking me everytime I went near her. When Mr B and I moved to a bigger house, we thought it would be nice to adopt a kitten to keep Della company. We popped down to our local animal aid centre and adopted Jack, a cheeky little kitten who had been born in the rescue centre. Jack reminds me of a dog, he loves to play fetch and is very attention seeking and loving. Definitely not aloof like many cats (including Della!).
Baby B has been fascinated by both Jack and Della from a very early age. Initially she would stare intently at them, then came smiles at them, followed by giggles at them and the latest development is chasing them! This week I was overjoyed that her first proper word (other than “mama” and babbles etc!) appeared to be “cat” when she saw her little buddy Jack! She also loves to stroke Jack but at only 10 months old we are really struggling to get her to understand the concept of gentle and have to very closely supervise her when she is near to them!
I was therefore delighted when Lee Hunter, an aspiring children’s author and professional childcare practitioner sent me a complimentary copy of her first children’s book “Nemo and Giraffe”.
“Nemo and Giraffe” is based on the life and antics of Lee’s indoor cat Nemo and is the first book in a planned series which aims to help young children form positive relationships with cats and all pets, and to learn how to care for them from a young age. The series strives to teach valuable life lessons including friendship and to also promote animal rights and welfare. Lee believes that if children can understand and be aware of the appropriate treatment of animals at a young age it can stay with them and benefit them throughout life.
The inspiration behind the Nemo & Giraffe series is the struggle that Lee found as a childminder within her own home teaching the children to be considerate of her cat Nemo, and to learn that he may become frightened if they scream, jump or grab at him. Lee hopes that by promoting their awareness of Nemo’s feelings, the children will be able to not only improve their own behaviours but also their awareness of themselves and others.
I really enjoyed reading the story to Baby B, not least because of the beautiful illustrations by Lindy Damen. However one of the other things that I love about the book is the message about how you can be friends with anyone regardless of who they are and what they look like. I think this is a really nice message for children. I also love the idea of teaching Baby B to be gentle and considerate with our cats and with other animals.
From an educational point of view, I also like the use of descriptive words.
Lee has kindly agreed for me to reproduce some of the beautiful images here:
The book which was self published by Lee can also be purchased from Amazon here: Nemo & Giraffe
I’ll definitely be buying a couple as presents for Baby B’s friends!