Friday, December 10, 2010

tomcat apprentice

Just before Halloween we got our second cat, partly to keep Cat #1 "entertained" and partly to acknowledge the achievement of our sixth-grader, who soldiered through two nights away from home at Outdoor Ed with her new middle-school peers.

He was named Oak by the shelter and the kids decided to keep that name, although at the time I thought Acorn would be more appropriate. No more. At almost 5 months, he resembles our son, long-limbed and lean; when Oak stands on his hind legs to scratch at a fresh section of the parlor sofa his reach comes easily to my hip now. (But I'm short.)

How fortunate that right here in my new copy of Paul B. Janeczko's A Foot in the Mouth I have "A Tomcat Is" by J. Patrick Lewis, newly named winner of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Our Oak now has a model to strive towards, as do we poets--between midnight mouthfuls of marshmallow paws!

A Tomcat Is (excerpts)
J. Patrick Lewis

Night watchman of corners
Caretaker of naps
Leg-wrestler of pillows
Depresser of laps.


The bird-watching bandit
On needle-point claws
The chief of detectives
On marshmallow paws

A crafty yarn-spinner
A stringer high-strung
A buttermilk mustache
A sandpaper tongue


See the complete poem here and then buy the book! Scholastic resources here and here, if you like that sort of thing.

Today's tasty Poetry Friday round-up is at Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup, where I find that she's highlighting J. Pat too. Coincidence, or fate?!?

Follow-up from last week's gingerbread man post (and thanks to all for the comments on Mrs. Oven's poem):

Here's the recipe I'll be using to make dough today;
baking and photos tomorrow!

Gingerbread Cookies
(6 dozen gingerbread men or 10 dozen stars )

Cream 1 ½ cups shortening with 1 ½ cups sugar.
Beat in 3 eggs, 1 ½ cups dark molasses, 3 T. apple cider or white vinegar.
Add 7 ½ cups flour, 2 ½ t. baking soda, ¾ t. salt, 1 ½ T. ginger,
1 ½ t. each cinnamon and cloves.

Mix thoroughly and form into dough disc. Chill at least 3 hours.
Roll out thin on floured surface with floured rolling pin.
Cut in shapes and bake on parchment-lined cookie sheet 5-6 minutes at 375*.


  1. Definitely fate, or something psychic going on! I hadn't seen "A Tomcat Is" -- the excerpts you've posted are wonderful. Who could not love marshmallow paws or a buttermilk moustache? *pats Oak* Nice kitty!

  2. J. Pat knows his cats! The beat is great, perfect for reading out loud.

  3. I love it when cats hit that lanky "teenage" stage. (...although I'm not sure our 18 lb rescue cat was ever lanky...I think he's been a linebacker all his life...)

    I'll be making dozens and dozens of sugar cookies next weekend. After 20 years of gingerbread people, I decided I wanted to use THE REST of my cookie cutters! So we have holiday armadillos and pigs and bats along with trees and stars and snowflakes. The biggest leap of faith -- I make white icing and let them mix their own colors!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!