Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Binky the Space Cat

Spires, Ashley (Author/Illustrator)
Kids Can Press 2009. 64 pages
First published: 2009
Series: Binky
ISBN: 9781554534197 (paperback)
9781554533091 (hardcover)
9781771380690 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Graphic Text
Book genre: Humour

Text Elements:

character, point of view

Award

The Forest of Reading – The Silver Birch Express Award Winner – 2011

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Binky the cat has the important job of protecting his humans from aliens. Written from his point of view, the story explores his imagination and interpretations. One page shows him taking care of his humans by helping around the house and singing them to sleep. The panels show him jumping into a grocery bag and purring loudly, preventing the boy from sleeping. Many scenes feature him battling flies in an attempt to control the “alien problem,” which ultimately inspires him to become a space cat.

The illustrations, done in “ink, watercolour and cat fur” are cartoony, in a palette of greys and browns with occasional accents of colour, such as his purple toy mouse and the red stripes on his spaceship. The panel size varies. When Binky is trying to fly, four panels run vertically to show him jumping, falling and crashing. Other pages feature several small square panels with the occasional full page, such as when his rocket ship is complete.

The text is brief but clever with an edge of irony. In his idea of alien invasion, “he and his humans would be enslaved by the flying menaces and forced to do horrible things … like eat vegetables … or stay in the same room as the vacuum.”

Just as Binky is about to blast off, he realizes that he can’t leave his helpless humans. He decides to stay behind and protect them. The final illustration shows him developing a new rocket ship blueprint with “room for three.”

  •  

    Discuss what it means to have chores and responsibilities around the house. Who decides on what gets done? Do you do chores out of respect and to do your part, or do you do them out of obligation?

  •  

    Binky dreams of fighting aliens in space, but he has never left the house. What connections can you make with his situation? Write about a time when you faced a challenge, but there was an obstacle in your way. Or write about another story that involves obstacles.

  •  

    On pages 37-38, Binky believes the family is headed into space without cat protection. What can we infer about how he sees the world?

  •  

    Instead of reaching his goal, Binky chooses to stay and protect his family. Discuss why people might choose responsibility over doing something just for fun.

  •  

    Discuss and list the chores and responsibilities you have at home. How are chores similar or different in class versus at home?

  •  

    Why does the layout include square, stamp-styled and scalloped-edged panels? Discuss Binky’s role in the house. How about the humans’ and insects’ roles? Compare these, using a graphic organizer (see page 24).

  •  

    Discuss how objects serve other purposes. Find the names of these double-duty household objects (e.g. the flight simulator on page 46 is a fan).

  •  

    Think of other aliens and objects in your house. Invent a future adventure for Binky. Create a comic strip in the same style.

  •  Use this book as a resource for the LES Are Cats Really Like That?
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Drama
  • Science and Technology